As Delhi battles with severe flooding following record rain and an overflowing Yamuna river, Delhi Minister and AAP leader Saurabh Bharadwaj demanded action against three bureaucrats for allegedly not following the instructions of two ministers to call NDRF and Army Engineers Regiment on time to repair a key building regulator that breached, which led to extreme flooding in the city.
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. "Officers ignored the directions causing flood situation in VIP areas of Delhi including the Supreme Court of India. Flooding could have been avoided if the directions of Ministers had been followed and Army/NDRF was called on the preceding night. This was conspiracy against Supreme Court," Saurabh Bhardwaj wrote in his letter to Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena.
I&FC Minister @Saurabh_MLAgk writes to LG demanding action against CS Naresh Kumar, Div Com Ashwani Kumar and IFC Sec Ashish Kundra‼️— AAP (@AamAadmiParty) July 15, 2023
▪️Bureaucrats deliberately ignored the instructions of 2 Ministers
▪️Ministers has clearly instructed these officers to call NDRF and Army… pic.twitter.com/tStA3pwbex
The minister further claimed that he sent a message on their WhatsApp group 'Delhi Flood Control - 2023', which included all the concerned ministers including Ashwani Kumar (Divisional Commissioner), at 11:09 PM explaining the need to call the NDRF at the earliest. "It was specifically told by the undersigned and Atishi on this group that back flow into the city can flood Lutyen's Delhi including the Supreme Court of India. Atishi also suggested to call the Engineering Wing of the NDRF of the Engineering Wing of the Army," he said in the letter.
Despite this, Ashish Kundra Secretary (I&FC) and Ashwani Kumar (Divisional Commissioner) did not adhere to the directions to call NDRF at the site, he further claimed. "Flooding could have been avoided had the directions of Ministers were followed and Army/NDRF was called at preceding night," the Aam Aadmi Party claimed. "My and Atishi's directions were ignored in the hour of natural calamity," Bharadwaj alleged in the letter.
AAP Vs BJP Spar Over Delhi Floods
In fact, 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." The spat was also caught on video. 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."
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.
The BJP alleged that inaction and corruption of the AAP government was responsible for the flood in Delhi and asked Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to apologise to the people for "failing" to handle the situation.