Not the time to play blame games, says Kejriwal over waterlogging in Delhi

His statement came after the BJP hit out at the Delhi government that the first spell of rains has "exposed" the AAP government’s preparations

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said water had been drained from the Minto Bridge. File photo: PTI

This is not the time to play the blame game over waterlogging in parts of Delhi as all agencies have been busy combating the coronavirus, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Sunday (July 19).

His statement came after the BJP hit out at the Delhi government that the first spell of rains has “exposed” the AAP government’s preparations.

Heavy rains caused waterlogging in parts of Delhi, including at Minto Bridge where a 56-year-old man’s body was found. The man had allegedly died due to drowning after his mini-truck was submerged.

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The man’s body was found by a trackman working at New Delhi railway station yard, who helped take it out.

BJP MP Manoj Tiwari alleged that the AAP government’s preparations have been exposed by the first spell of monsoon rains in the backdrop of the man’s death.

Taking to Twitter, Tiwari said that the situation worsened in a few hours of rain and wondered what will happen if it rains for months. “… Arvind Kejriwal ji your preparations are exposed by the first rains of Monsoon. A solid plan should be prepared to deal with the rains so that Delhi could be prevented from submerging and people saved from difficulties” the BJP MP said on Twitter.

Kejriwal responded to Tiwari’s claim in a tweet in Hindi, saying, “This year, all agencies, be it Delhi government or MCD (civic body), were busy in prevention of COVID-19. They faced many difficulties due to corona. This is not the time to blame each other. All have to fulfil their responsibilities together. Wherever there is waterlogging, we will try to pump out water immediately.”

Later, in another tweet, the chief minister said water had been drained from the Minto Bridge. Kejriwal said he had been in touch with the agencies and monitoring the process of removing water from there.

“Road under the Minto bridge has been cleared of water logging. I was in contact with agencies since morning and was monitoring the process of removing water. We are keeping an eye on more such places in Delhi. Wherever there is water logging, it is being pumped out immediately,” Kejriwal tweeted.

Gautam Gambhir, who represents East Delhi in Parliament, also took a dig at the Delhi Chief Minister after several areas in the national capital were flooded following heavy rains.

Taking to Twitter, Gambhir said in Hindi, “Got to hear that the Delhi government is running a “Rain Water Harvesting” scheme on the London-Paris like roads! When will we get to see its advertisements, chief minister ji?”

He also put out photographs of waterlogged roads where vehicles and people were seen navigating through them.

Delhi BJP president Adesh Gupta too slammed the Chief Minister in a tweet, saying it was just the beginning of monsoon and asked the AAP dispensation to take concrete steps as soon as possible to prevent waterlogging.

Gupta also condoled the death at Minto Bridge which comes under the Delhi PWD. He said that if steps were taken in time, the death due to waterlogging could have been prevented. “Minto Bridge area comes under the PWD of Delhi government. There is a pump which was not started in time and the DJB line which carries the lifted water was also choked. We have been raising this issue in the past,” he claimed.

North MCD Mayor Jai Prakash, who visited the Minto Bridge on Sunday morning, claimed that he got North Delhi Municipal Corporation staffers to clear the water from the area. He also attacked the Delhi government and said, “Such incidents will continue to occur until the Delhi government gets rid of its irresponsible attitude. The CM should take responsibility and announce an ex gratia for the kin of the deceased,” according to news agency ANI.

“The government should ensure that such incidents don’t happen again,” Hindustan Times quoted him as saying.

On the other hand, Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia backed Kejriwal and said that all agencies including the Public Works Department (PWD), Delhi Jal Board (DJB), Delhi Municipal Corporation (MCD), and the flood department were working to deal with the problem.

“Some part of our management was busy with COVID-19, but we are doing the needful. CM Arvind Kejriwal is monitoring the situation personally,” ANI quoted him as saying.

The national capital received its first spell of heavy rains on Sunday morning, which led to waterlogging in low-lying areas and brought traffic to a standstill at key stretches in the city.

According to the Delhi Traffic Police, jams were reported from Azadpur to Mukarba Chowk, Yashwant Place to Ashoka Road, at Ring Road, Bhairon Road, and near Mundka metro station due to heavy waterlogging.

A driver and conductor of a bus that got stuck at the Minto Bridge underpass due to waterlogging were rescued by fire department personnel, according to officials.

Delhi fire service officials said they had saved 10 lives this morning from water logging while responding to distress calls. “Three people were saved in the ITO area, six people were saved near Zakhira Flyover and one person was saved at Lawrence Road,” ANI quoted officials as saying.

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