By Sayan Pramanik:
The Indian monsoon is here and it brings much wanted respite from the scorching summer heat and the rising mercury. A nice cool breeze flows through the city bringing smiles to many faces. Black clouds are a welcome sight after many monotonous months of clear skies and annoyingly warm climate. The first few drops of rain are followed by the heavenly smell of water on quenched earth. People step out of their homes to enjoy the rainy day. Slowly and steadily, the rain starts to grow, and ironically, that is where our problems start.
Recently, the rains had come down pretty hard on the capital city and I had to make it back to the newly constructed Qutab Minar metro station on the Gurgaon-Delhi metro line. On reaching Lado Sarai, the auto driver refused to drive the last 1 kilometer stretch of road due to the heavy traffic jam. So, I set off on foot, walking past the slow moving traffic. The road ahead was completely submerged with knee-deep water. The cars were forced to move slowly in a single file through the flood resulting in the crowd of honking horns and resigned faces. As I looked at the chaos a few centimeters of rain had caused, I could see that the rain-filled nightmare of the daily commuter had begun. A trip from Delhi to Gurgaon which normally would take about 45 minutes, turned out to be a strenuous and frustrating journey which lasted for hours. Thankfully for the Delhi metro, I reached home early. However, others weren’t so lucky.
While frustrated citizens complain and voice their opinions about the city’s poor drainage system, politicians are doing what they do best – point fingers. After receiving numerous complaints on the water logging issue, the Delhi Municipal Corporation, which is under the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), blamed the Congress-led Delhi government. According to them, accumulation of dust and debris from the various construction zones all over Delhi has led to drainage problems. So, while the blame game continues to be played, with little possibility of any beneficial outcome at the end, the streets of Delhi continue to be submerged underwater resulting in problems for all kinds of transportation. The waterlogging problem happens every year. Each year, complaints are raised, half-hearted explanations given and then, within a few weeks, all is forgotten.
It is quite true that over the last few years, Delhi has seen a lot of progress. Owing to the Delhi government’s recent development surge leading up to the 2010 Commonwealth Games, we have seen improved infrastructure, the near completion of a world class metro rapid transit system, completion of flyovers all over the city, the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway, and most recently, the commencement of the new T3 airport terminal. However, it seems one of the city’s basic necessities have been overlooked. One would have thought that with so much capital being spent developing and renovating the city, some would be put into use for improving the drainage system so that we could all enjoy a much more bearable monsoon. Maybe now it’s time for the developmental authorities to turn their attention to much more basic infrastructure problems. As in the end, only the small things matter the most.
The writer is a correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz and a student of Indian Institute of Technology.
Image courtesy: http://contemplationsofmynotions.blogspot.com/2009/08/delhi-turns-boggy-with-lashing-rain.html