Rain, Road and the Rage

Monsoon is a welcome change after the rising humidity levels in Delhi. The cool showers provide respite to the thirst quenching weather, stabilizing the temperature. But as happy children relish sinking into the depths of the puddles before going to school, gleefully awaiting the authorities to declare a holiday; office goers and commuters of public transportation, feel harassed and fed up by the flooded roads and overflowing drains that are a hindrance to their destination and their neat and timely physical appearance at work. All said and done about the pros and cons, the question is whether the Delhi roads are prepared for the monsoon.

A few days of moderate rainfall are sufficient to provide a situation of water logging on roads, which in turn, leads to congestion, long hours of traffic jams and anger among the commuters. The residents of the city are worried about the situation that will be created if a good drainage system is not formulated soon enough. Moderate rainfall is slowly being replaced by rapid rainfall, which is a cause of worry to the city. A usual feature during heavy rains is the creation of pot holes on the road, due to water logging.

However, monsoons offer much respite to people during holidays who gather around hangouts like India Gate and monuments of historical significance to enjoy the weather. However, on the flipside, people are affected by the heavy rainfall, not just during the day, but in the evenings as well. Potholes are commonly spotted on the connecting roads between Delhi and Ghaziabad. One constant fear in the minds of the people is the thought of falling into an open ditch.

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi, as on June 18, 2008, took the initiative of cleaning 137 drains in the city and was slowly progressing towards working on 600 other drains. In fact, A K Walia, State Urban Development and PWD minister, did not acknowledge the work done by the MCD as it was not substantial enough to bring about any social change. The arrival of the rainy season has brought to the forefront, the shortcomings of the MCD. However, each end of the rainy season is followed by ignoring the key issues that will affect the city in future, till the next monsoon season arrives. The task of filtering the drains in Delhi, which began in March, still stands incomplete.

In an appalling tragedy which occurred on 12th August, 2008, a 16 year old girl named Nata was run over by a container truck. Her father stumbled on a pothole in Uttam Nagar, New Delhi and lost control over his scooter. How much inconvenience will the potholed roads of Delhi cause? Do we really need to encounter such cases before doing something to solve the problem? We need to make an effort so that no more lives are left unfinished, like Nata’s. All travelers are vulnerable to the occurrence of accidents in the monsoon, not just because of the pot-holes and water-logged roads, but also due to the poor visibility and the mismanaged traffic that is a recurrent feature during this season. Perhaps, the traffic police can take strict measures to maintain discipline on the roads.

India boasts of having a wide network of roads. However, most of them are in an extremely pitiable condition. The potholes in particular, are capable of causing irrevocable damage to vehicles. Even though there have been some technological innovations in the construction of roads, this has not been substantial enough to improve their condition. Being a citizen of Delhi, I feel that these are social issues that must be taken up by individuals for the betterment of all. It is not only Delhi that faces these problems during monsoons, but other cities like Bombay and Calcutta as well. Is there a solution to these problems?

Yes, there is. It is us, the citizens of the city, and also in other parts of the country, who are affected by such problems, who should fight together to bring an end to this menace that has been hindering civic development for many years. It is time to get all our forgotten promises fulfilled, which will make us truly enjoy the change in the weather, in its totality. As tax-paying citizens, it is our right to demand the basic amenities from the Government, for a smoother life.

Aditi Ghosh


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