Andher Nagari: Delhi’s death traps courtesy MCD


Sinking feeling in civic void

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TOI team alerts city on more open pits and manholes but civic agencies seem to be faltering on their promise of covering the gaping holes by today


The TOI campaign against uncovered pits and manholes in the city seems to have stirred civic agencies into action. After TOI published the photograph of an open drain in Rajouri Garden on Thursday, the MCD promptly placed precast slabs on the drain. The civic agency had earlier too reacted to a TOI report and covered open drains and manholes in Shahdara and ITO.

Deputy commissioner, west zone, S C Kohli, said the drain cover had been broken by the sanitation department during desilting work on Wednesday but precast slabs were put back on Thursday.

‘‘The sanitation department and all executive engineers have been directed to ensure that all dug-up spaces in their wards are properly barricaded to prevent accidents and inconvenience to the public. The drain, of which a picture was published in TOI on Thursday, had been left open after its cover was broken during desilting,’’ said Kohli.

However, the civic agency was unable to provide information on the status of other gaping holes which too had featured in TOI. Though MCD had stated on Wednesday that all open pits and manholes under its jurisdiction would be covered and under-construction sites properly barricaded by Friday — a fact admitted by director, press and information, Deep Mathur — more open pits and manholes were discovered by TOI on Thursday. MCD was unable to respond to our queries on this matter.

Meanwhile, Vikas Marg again emerged as a sore point. Picture of an open pit at Vikas Marg had been published on Wednesday and PWD officials had claimed that all other troublespots would be taken care of immediately. However, two new spots were found along this stretch on Thursday.

Said a senior PWD official: ‘‘The stretch in question has been handed over to DMRC. We spoke to the chief engineer, DMRC, and were assured that corrective action would be taken.’’

Meanwhile, residents of Chandni Chowk claimed that open drains and sewers were still a problem in their area with no agency taking any action to ensure safety measures. Said Sanjay Bharghav, secretary of Chandni Chowk traders association: ‘‘Delhi Jal Board is carrying out deep sewer work along the central verge in main Chandni Chowk.

Besides a strip put by them as a safety measure, the open pits, which are very deep, are not barricaded. When it rains, these pits get filled with water making it very difficult to assess the exact depth of the pit.’’

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