After days of heavy rain and flooding in Delhi, the overflowing Yamuna river that submerged large parts of the national capital, is showing a receding trend but the threat of flooding is not over, CM Kejriwal warned citizens. The breach at the Indraprastha regulator, which led to flooding in the surrounding areas of Delhi, was repaired on the intervening night of Friday and Saturday, according to the Office of Lieutenant Governor of Delhi.
Immediately after returning to Delhi from UAE, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday spoke to Lt Governor V K Saxena to enquire about the progress made in dealing with the flood-like situation in the national capital.
The water level had come down to 207.43 metres by 10 am on Saturday from its peak of 208.66 metres at 8 pm on Thursday, according to the Central Water Commission. However, it is still over two metres above the danger mark of 205.33 metres. Revenue Secretary and Divisional Commissioner of Delhi government Ahswani Kumar said that the water level had decreased by 5 centimeters and the situation would improve by tomorrow.
Warning people against going to the flooded areas of Delhi, Kejriwal said this could be fatal as the speed of the water is very fast and water can rise anytime. After a meeting of Delhi cabinet ministers on the flood situation in the city, AAP leader Saurabh Bhardwaj announced that responsibility for relief and rescue operations in six flood-affected districts has been divided among six ministers.
33 trainees rescued from IIPA
Over 30 trainees of Indian Statistical Services were rescued on Saturday morning from Indian Institute of Public Administration (IIPA) at ITO in central Delhi.
VIDEO | Delhi Fire Services personnel rescue students from the waterlogged Indian Institute of Public Administration (IIPA) at ITO, Delhi. pic.twitter.com/aIFADLiyLI— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) July 15, 2023
Indraprastha regulator fixed
At 00:15 am on Saturday, LG VK Saxena tweeted that the civilian workers and the Indian Army personnel pressed in to repair the regulator had successfully completed the task.
"My heartfelt gratitude to our ordinary workmen and jawans and officers of Indian Army for their untiring efforts in sealing the bund breach on Yamuna, opposite WHO building and opening the gates at ITO barrage in Delhi," said Saxena on Twitter.
My heartfelt gratitude to our ordinary Workmen & Jawans and Officers of Indian Army for their untiring efforts in sealing the bund breach on Yamuna, opposite WHO building & opening the gates at ITO barrage in Delhi. pic.twitter.com/UcZDmTavcr— LG Delhi (@LtGovDelhi) July 14, 2023
Due to the regulator breach, water had started to flowing into Delhi through a drain, inundating the Ring Road, Indraprastha Metro Station, IP Depot, ITO and Vikas Marg, reaching the entrance of the Supreme Court in central Delhi, according to PTI.
Earlier on Friday, the Okhla water treatment plant was also restarted, which is likely to ease the water shortage in Delhi. Amid record-breaking rain and flooding unseen in the past many decades, Delhi was also plunged into a drinking water shortage as three water treatments at Okhla, Wazirabad, and Chandrawal were shut down because of rising Yamuna River water level.
Announcing the resumption of operations at Okhla plant, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the other two plants would resume operations when the Yamuna water level would recede to 207.7 metres. As of 11 pm on Friday, the Yamuna water level stood at 207.98 metres, reported PTI. Kejriwal also said that the flood situation in Delhi could normalise if it does not rain for two days. However, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) in its weekly forecast published on Saturday predicted light to moderate rain with thundershowers throughout the week.
Jammed gates of ITO barrage opened: Kejriwal
Kejriwal on Friday night informed that the first jammed gate of the ITO barrage has been opened.
"After non-stop hard-work of almost 20 hours, the first gate of ITO barrage has been opened. The divers removed silt with compressor and then pulled the gate open from hydro-crane. Soon, the remaining gates will be opened. Special gratitude to the Army engineers and divers," said Kejriwal in a tweet in Hindi.
क़रीब 20 घंटों की बिना रुके मेहनत के बाद, ITO बैराज का पहला जाम हुआ गेट खोल दिया गया है। गोताखोर टीम ने पानी के नीचे से सिल्ट कंप्रेसर द्वारा निकाली, फिर हाईड्रा क्रेन से गेट को खींचा गया। जल्द ही पाँचों गेट खोल दिए जाएँगे।— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) July 14, 2023
आर्मी इंजीनियर रेजिमेंट और गोताखोरों का विशेष धन्यवाद।
Earlier on Friday, Kejriwal accused the Haryana government of having no interest in maintaining the barrage under its control and said his government would start the proceedings to take control of the barrage.
Visiting the ITO barrage, where five of the 32 gates were jammed at the time, obstructing the drainage of water out of Delhi, Kejriwal said, "The Navy is working to open them but it cannot be said when these will be opened. The Haryana government is responsible for the maintenance of the barrage but they have no interest. We will surely begin the process to take control of the barrage."
The blame game in Delhi
Earlier on Friday, Saurabh Bharadwaj, who holds the water portfolio in the Kejriwal ministry, accused the bureaucrats under LG of not acting timely on the breach of the regulator. He accused that the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) was not deployed on time. The sources at the Office of LG said that the NDRF's mandate is relief and rescue, which it is doing since day one, and not repair work.
In a spat caught on video, Bharadwaj, in presence of LG Saxena, said, "We wrote to the Chief Secretary on Whatsapp group to call NDRF else floodwaters might enter into sensitive areas of Delhi. We also asked the DM. But our messages were ignored last night."
Responding to Bharadwaj, Saxena said, "This is the time for teamwork, not blaming each other. I could say a lot of things too, but it's not necessary at the moment."
Watch | #Delhi Lt Governor VK Saxena and CM #ArvindKejriwal brief the media after inspecting the spot at Vikas Bhawan, ITO where a drain regulator is damaged— Hindustan Times (@htTweets) July 14, 2023
Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj tells Delhi LG that he made several requests to different officers last night to call NDRF but… pic.twitter.com/WVWtanwXEp
Bharadwaj claimed he requested Divisional Commissioner Ashwani Kumar too on Thursday night for the deployment of the NDRF, but in vain. Sources at the Office of LG told PTI that the regulator required urgent engineering solutions, the responsibility for which lay with the Irrigation & Flood Control Department and DJB, which Bharadwaj himself controls.
"The NDRF is not responsible for carrying out regular engineering works," said sources to PTI.
AAP claims Delhi floods are a BJP conspiracy
Even as CM Kejriwal said that everyone needed to work together, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of creating the Delhi floods.
AAP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh said, "It has not rained in Delhi for three days. Then, what is the cause of rain? The cause is the conspiracy hatched by the BJP. In such situations, the hatred hidden in Modi Ji's heart comes out. I speak with full responsibility that this flood is pre-planned."
दिल्ली में 3 दिन से बारिश नहीं हुई है, फिर बाढ़ की वजह क्या है?— AAP (@AamAadmiParty) July 14, 2023
इसकी वजह है BJP द्वारा रची गई गहरी साजिश,
Modi जी के मन मे छिपी नफ़रत जो ऐसी घटनाओं में निकल कर बाहर आती है।
मैं पूरी जिम्मेदारी से कहता हूँ कि ये बाढ़ प्रायोजित है।
Singh accused the BJP-run Haryana of releasing all of the Hathni Kund Barrage's water into Delhi. He said had this water been released evenly, such a situation would not have reached.
"Water from Hathni Kund Barrage goes to Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Delhi. But from July 9, all water was released towards Delhi. If this water was released evenly, then there would be no flood condition today. Why is BJP doing this. Delhi gave seven MPs to BJP. It would have been better if all of them appealed to Modi Ji to not release all the water towards Delhi," AAP quoted Singh as saying in Hindi on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Delhi on Friday also reported its first deaths as three children drowned in northwest Delhi's northwest Delhi's Mukundpur Chowk area.