The Delhi High Court Monday suggested that authorities must take “emergency efforts” to ensure drains in the city are free of obstruction, so rainwater and sewage does not stagnate on the roads.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said sewage and rainwater have to be dealt with, and directed authorities concerned to draw up an action plan for drainage. The bench also appointed a panel headed by the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) chief executive officer to look into difficulties in drainage of rainwater and sewage in the capital.
The bench set up the committee after taking note of news reports that the drainage system was archaic and needed to be upgraded. It said that given the multiplicity of authorities and their “inability to undertake the minimalistic task” of ensuring proper drainage, it was “essential” to monitor the same so that woes of residents are addressed.
The bench had on July 26 asked municipal and other civic bodies to map out all drains, indicating the geographical areas they service. The court’s direction came during hearing of a PIL initiated on its own on various news reports about roads being waterlogged and disruption of traffic, after heavy rainfall between July 10-13. The bench had asked the Delhi government and civic agencies why waterlogging was a recurring problem every time it rains, and had sought to know steps taken to prevent it.
“Flooded roads and pavements would also lead to spread of water-borne and vector-borne diseases,” the court had said. It had also said that the fallout of waterlogging was not only loss of man hours, with people unable to reach their destinations in time, but also air pollution caused by idling engines of vehicles.