A much-delayed expansion of a key drain contributed to key stretches of Gurugram getting submerged after a short burst of rain on Saturday, triggering a traffic snag that took more than four hours to clear.
The newly inaugurated Hero Honda Chowk underpass and two carriageways of the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway—a 4km stretch between the Hero Honda Chowk and the Kherki Daula toll plaza— went under water soon after showers began. The fiasco was blamed mainly on the Haryana urban development authority (Huda) failure to widen a 600-metre stretch of Badshahpur drain near Khandsa village.
The narrow width of the drain had been identified as the main reason for the 20-hour-long jam in 2016 that clogged Hero Honda Chowk after a similar spell of rain. Officials had said that the drain’s width was insufficient.
A sense of déjà vu and frustration swept over residents on Saturday when they saw their city come to a standstill after almost four hours of rain that washed away all promises of infrastructure development made in the past two years.
“They made a new road after the 2016 deluge, but the drainage system is still the same. We have been waiting for the past three months for the agencies to de-silt the drains. Yesterday (Saturday), the roads flooded instantly after the rain and then the electricity supply was hit for 5 hours,” said Sudhir Bhardwaj, president of the Sector 56 RWA.
As areas of the city stood in pools of water on Sunday, residents complained that 95% drains have not been cleaned in years and questioned the measures the authorities have taken in last two years.
With water logging in low-lying areas such as sectors 3, 5 and 6 and drains overflowing, residents said they feel like nothing has changed and that the money spent on fixing these problems has been a waste.
“In areas such as Sheetla Colony and Ashok Vihar, the drainage system is connected to the sewer lines, so it accentuates the problem as the dirty water mixes with the rainwater and floods the entire area. In 2017, the authorities spent over Rs 30 lakh cleaning the drains, but it has not helped,” said Dinesh Vashist, president of RWA for sectors 3,5 and 6.
“The drain near Sector 46 main road, which connects to the sewage line, is choked. With the monsoons yet to arrive, authorities must remember that Gurugram is underprepared to face heavy rains. A 2016-like situation is bound to arise if the drainage system is not cleaned,” Sunil Sukhija, Sector 46 resident, said.