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.
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.
कुछ घंटों की बारिश में बिगड़े हालात,तो महीनों की बारिश में दिल्ली का क्या हाल होगा?@ArvindKejriwal जी मानसून की पहली बारिश ने ही आपकी तैयारियों की कलई खोल दी..आगे होने वाली बारिश से निपटने के लिए तुरंत ठोस योजना तैयार करें,ताकि दिल्ली को डूबने और लोगों को तकलीफ से बचाया जा सके 🙏 https://t.co/tg5UnwvL6v
— Manoj Tiwari (@ManojTiwariMP) July 19, 2020
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.”
इस साल सभी एजेंसियां, चाहे वो दिल्ली सरकार की हो या MCD की, कोरोना नियंत्रण में लगी हुई थी। करोना की वजह से उन्हें कई कठिनाइयाँ आयीं। ये वक्त एक दूसरे पर दोषारोपण का नहीं है। सबको मिल कर अपनी जिम्मेदारियां निभानी है। जहां जहां पानी भरेगा, हम उसे तुरंत निकालने का प्रयास करेंगे।
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) July 19, 2020
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.
मिंटो ब्रिज से जलभराव निकाल दिया गया है। आज सुबह से ही मैं एजेंसियों के संपर्क में था और वहां से पानी हटाने की प्रक्रिया मॉनिटर कर रहा था।
दिल्ली में ऐसे और भी स्थानों पर हम नजर रखे हुए हैं। जहाँ भी पानी इकट्ठा हुआ है उसे तुरंत पम्प किया जा रहा हैं। pic.twitter.com/psMClLuoxf
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) July 19, 2020
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?”
सुना है लंदन-पैरिस जैसी सड़कों पर दिल्ली सरकार "Rain Water Harvesting" की योजना चला रही है!
इसकी Advertisements देखने को कब मिलेंगी मुख्यमंत्री जी? pic.twitter.com/fY2Pt8DOvt
— Gautam Gambhir (@GautamGambhir) July 19, 2020
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.
हर मानसून में जलमग्न होती दिल्ली की सड़कें,दिल्ली सरकार और PWD की लापरवाही को उजागर कर देती हैं।अगर पहले से ही सही कदम उठाएं जाते तो आज जल भराव के कारण मिंटो ब्रिज पर मौत न हुई होती।केजरीवाल जी कुछ तो शर्म कीजिए,अभी तो मानसून की शुरुआत है,जल्द से जल्द इसके लिए ठोस कदम उठाएं जाएं। pic.twitter.com/Npdb03RUdF
— Adesh Kumar Gupta (@adeshguptabjp) July 19, 2020
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.