Waterlogging, traffic snarls, road cave-in in NCR: 3 hours of rain drowned 3 governments' claims of development
How would our cities fare were a natural disaster to strike?
- Total Shares
Dark clouds make everyone happy. But when these clouds gathered over Delhi’s sky on the morning of July 26, it was destined to change the definition of many things. Many fairy tales that have been created over the years — of “world-class” projects, promoted with advertisements worth crores of rupees and with larger-than-life images of netas — were washed away in a few hours of rain.
Flyovers were not enough to save Delhi residents from waterlogging and traffic woes. (Photo:Kumar Kunal/Aaj Tak)
The rain was indeed a shaming shower for Delhi-NCR, as all the cities across the region went neck-deep in water with just a few hours of intermittent showers. People lost lives, houses were submerged and the cities turned into large swimming pools thanks to the poor planning and rampant corruption in the system.
Ghaziabad, Noida, Faridabad and Gurugram, along with Delhi, were together in this sorry story, on a day that the first significant monsoon showers were supposed to bless the region.
People get stuck in long traffic snarls every time it pours in Delhi. Waterlogging on roads is also a common feature, but July 26 was different.
First, the rain misery was not just due to civic failure, but the failing of the system as a whole — the system in which we live, survive and thrive, and believe that it is the best we can get.
Even as roads were waterlogged because drains had not been cleaned, big-ticket projects such as elevated roads at Ghaziabad and Noida, several newly built underpasses, various towering high-rise societies built by famous builders, all of them were humbled by three hours of rain.
This means that while the common man has been promised the moon by all of these agencies, he has been cheated by not just the government, but private service providers too.
In Ghaziabad, a big portion of a road caved in, putting apartment blocks nearby in danger of collapse. (Photo:Kumar Kunal/Aaj Tak)
Secondly, the NCR is a conglomeration of several cities, run by different governments headed by different political parties. While Delhi is run by several departments that come under the Delhi government of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), civic bodies such as all the three MCDs and the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) are controlled by the Centre.
Cities like Noida and Ghaziabad come under Uttar Pradesh and are run by the BJP under CM Yogi Adityanath. Gurugram and Faridabad are in Haryana, which has also a BJP government under Manohar Lal Khattar.
But the civic apathy seen over the past few days was the same across all these cities, proving that no political dispensation can claim to be any better as far as the worsening urban infrastructure is concerned.
Thirdly, what about the safety of the common man? A 31-year-old father died after he was electrocuted from a live wire in his waterlogged housing society in Ghaziabad. The man was coming back after dropping his daughter to school. In the Vasundhara area of Ghaziabad, a big portion of a road caved in suddenly, putting several apartment blocks nearby in danger of collapse and the lives of thousands of residents at risk.
Even in Noida, Greater Noida, Gurugram and Faridabad, parking lots of private residential societies were flooded after just a few hours of rain. Experts says that such flooding in basements can endanger the structural safety of the building, increasing the likelihood of incidents like the Shahberi building collapse in Greater Noida, in which nine people lost their life barely 10 days ago.
Not just parked two-wheelers, the NCR's claims of development also drowned with the showers. (Photo:Twitter)
Fourthly, the rain has given a lesson to the planners and think-tanks of the government with some glaring visuals and pictures. On July 27, in posh South Delhi, residents had to use bullock carts to commute, as it was impossible to take out cars or bikes on the waterlogged underpass at Pul Prahladpur near Kalkaji. If such is our situation in the 21st century, then all the advancements made by the city and its residents have come to naught.
Similarly, the 8-kilometre elevated road between NH 24 and Raj Nagar Extension, which has been touted as the solution to all the traffic woes of Ghaziabad, proved of not much help, as commuters were stuck in traffic jams for several hours due to poor planning and water logging.
By testing the city’s infrastructure, the rain has shown how Delhi NCR would fare if a natural disaster were to strike. The showers of July 26 were hardly unexpected, yet they proved unmanageable. What if a bigger disaster were to knock on these cities’ doors?
Think, and start acting now, before it’s too late.