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Waterlogging in Delhi could have been managed better despite the “alibi” of excessive rains, Lt-Governor Anil Baijal told a review meeting attended by top officials, including Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, on Friday, official sources said.

Sisodia directed officials to identify vulnerable spots and find a permanent solution, the Delhi government said in a statement. Apart from Sisodia and Baijal, the meeting was attended by Public Works Department (PWD) Minister Satyendar Jain, chief secretary Vijay Dev, commissioners of all the three MCDs and NHAI officials.

“After detailed discussions & deliberations, it was felt by all that despite the alibi of excessive rains, the situation needed to be addressed and better preparedness could have been put in place. The situation in the national capital needed to be handled with better and updated engineering solutions,” sources quoted the L-G as having said.

Sisodia stressed on work at the micro-level to address the problem. He specifically pointed out instances of waterlogging at ITO and stretches of NH-24, underlining that the issue will be resolved only if agencies including NHAI, MCD, PWD work together.

At the meeting, every department was directed to constitute a committee of experts to evaluate the situation, learn from the lessons learnt and propose a plan of action.

“It was felt that an annual pre monsoon desilting exercise was insufficient and continuous desilting of drains/nallahs & catchment areas to prevent waterlogging needed to be undertaken,” sources added. There are about 2,846 drains in Delhi measuring 3,692 km. The majority of these drains are with the PWD.

“This time, Delhi has received more rain than previous years and has faced waterlogging at many places. To eliminate this problem, it is very important that all the agencies related to it, together with coordination, make short term and long-term plans to deal with this problem and execute it,” Sisodia said.

“The responsibility to mitigate this (waterlogging) will be of the primary agency with the rest of the agency providing support,” he added. The government statement added that Sisodia directed the officers to constitute an expert committee comprising officers of all the agencies.

On August 24, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who is in Jaipur attending a vipassana camp, held a review meeting on the city’s drainage system. At that meeting, a decision was taken to bring changes in the system in accordance with suggestions made by a team of IIT-Delhi.

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