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Monday, January 17, 2022

IIT-Delhi’s ‘drainage master plan’ falls short of Delhi government’s expectations

Despite the government speeding up the work on Delhi's Drainage Master Plan, the national capital may face waterlogging issues for a few more years as this plan will take at least three years to be implemented on the ground.

Written by Gayathri Mani | New Delhi |
Updated: December 18, 2021 5:53:14 am
Waterlogging at Minto bridge following heavy rain in New Delhi (File)

Finding the ‘Drainage Master Plan’ prepared by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi generic in nature, with no clear actionable point suggested by it, the Delhi government has decided to engage consultants to solve the longstanding issue of waterlogging and drainage problems in the capital. The Public Works Department has been appointed the nodal agency for the project.

A senior PWD official said, “The department has started the process of engaging consultants. The tendering process will start by early January and they will be engaged by March.”

The decision was taken last month after a meeting chaired by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and attended by PWD Minister Satyendar Jain and senior officials. During the meeting, the Irrigation and Flood Control Department made a presentation on the plan prepared by IIT-D.

“Chairman (Sisodia) observed that the drainage master plan prepared by IIT-Delhi is generic and no clearcut actionable points have been suggested by them. The drains under four feet size are not covered in the report. These drains mostly fall under the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCDs),” read the minutes of the meeting accessed by The Indian Express.

MCD officials informed the minister during the meeting that drains under their jurisdiction are either covered or encroached, making desilting difficult.

After the discussion, it was decided that a comprehensive master plan needs to be planned with short, medium and long term solutions to the waterlogging and drainage problems. “Experienced consultants may be engaged for each drainage basin to work out practical solutions for different areas of Delhi,” read the minutes further.

Besides, the government also suggested forming a committee headed by secretary  PWD and comprising senior-level officers from the civic bodies, I&FC, DDA, DSIDC, DJB, and Delhi Cantonment Board to review the progress for engagement of consultants and implementation of the plan, said the official.

Since there are three basins in Delhi at Najafgarh, Barapullah and Trans-Yamuna, three consultants are likely to be appointed.

A senior PWD official working on the project said: “IIT gave us a broader guideline for disposal of rainwater – that you store it in some place and release it in green lawn areas. But if I will give this guideline to my field unit, they will start again from scratch on what should be the level and size of the drain, which takes time. The consultants who will be engaged now will study all these levels, sizes and other things about the drains and inform us whether to increase the level or size by 20 or 30 cm. So, we are engaging consultants to convert the generic solution into a specific solution based on which our field units will execute the work on the ground.”

Despite this, the national capital may face waterlogging for a couple more years, since the plan could take three more years to be implemented on the ground. “The comprehensive drainage master plan will take one year to be prepared, that is, by March 2023. It will take two more years to implement the plan. So, work on the ground and drainage system of Delhi will be redeveloped by 2025,” said the senior official.

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