'Have renovated regulators on 14 drains to prevent flooding,' Minister Bharadwaj

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New Delhi, Jul 11 (PTI) Delhi Irrigation and Flood Control Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj on Thursday said his department has renovated the regulators on 14 drains to avoid flooding in the national capital.

He said the department has made pilot cuts wherever there were islands to facilitate movement of water.

"Some of the locations include the ITO bridge, Old Railway bridge, near Vasudev Ghat. Making pilot cuts is a temporary measure to create an additional passage for the extra discharge during flood," he said.

The department has also restored the regulator of drain number 12 near the WHO Building, which had broken during the flood last year causing areas like ITO to submerge, he said.

The Indraprastha water regulator was breached July 17 last year due to a strong current in the Yamuna when the water level of the river reached its highest in 70 years, peaking at 208.66 metres, much above the danger mark of 205.33 metres. The previous high of 207.49 metres was recorded in 1978.

"There are 14 drains that have regulators and they have all been restored. At the Tanga Stand regulator, the height of the gate has been increased from 3.45 metre to 4.45 metre. Similarly, the gate height at the Metcalf House regulator has also been increased from 3.25 metres to 4.25 metre," Bharadwaj added.

The department also has plans to construct a stepped ramp at the Monastery market where there was heavy flooding last year. However, construction on the structure will be done after consultation with the market association, he said, adding that the issue is being coordinated by the district magistrates of east and central districts.

Bharadwaj said the primary cause of flooding in Delhi was water being discharged into the Yamuna at Hathnikund barrage of Haryana, which is exacerbated by heavy rain.

To protect the city, direct drainage discharge is halted through regulators when the river's level increases, warnings are issued at 204.5 metres, and evacuations begin at 205.33 metres, he said.

The minister said the first level of warning is triggered when the discharge from Hathnikund Barrage for Yamuna river exceeds 1 lakh cusecs. At that time, public announcements are made to warn people.

If the discharge exceeds 3 lakh cusecs, the people living on the river embankments will be warned and arrangement will be made to shift them to a safer location by the Revenue department, he said.

The third warning is triggered when the discharge exceeds 5 lakh cusecs and in that scenario, people living in flood prone areas will be shifted to higher altitude place, he added.

"In cities like Mumbai drainage water is discharged into the sea, but in Delhi, we have to discharge it into the Yamuna River. When the Yamuna's level increases then we stop the direct drainage discharge into the Yamuna, to prevent Yamuna's water from entering into the city. And when this happens then we're forced to use pumps to discharge the water. This year we're all geared up and pumps are ready," he said.

He also said the water discharge from other states is minimal.

"Once water is discharged from the mountains and Haryana, the first level of warning is issued in Delhi. It takes 36 to 72 hours for the water released from the Hathnikund Barrage to reach Delhi," Bharadwaj added.

The Central Water Commission informs us about the probability, timing, and potential breach, he said, adding, last year, these arrangements were manual, but this year, everything is online.

The Flood Control Department will receive real-time data on water levels, he said.

"It should be noted that large towers are being built in the areas around Haryana's Najafgarh Lake, which might potentially cause floods in both Delhi and Haryana. On the Haryana side of Najafgarh Lake, these constructions are causing water to accumulate, posing a risk to both states. We have written to Haryana's Chief Secretary and the Chief Minister, requesting them to stop these constructions," the minister said.

He said they are also working on desilting of drainage and have been successful in desilting 12,97,000 lakh metric tons.

"We have also set up a flood control room in Shastri Nagar wherein we get real-time online updates," he added. PTI SLB SLB VN VN