As Delhi awaits monsoon, authorities make elaborate plans to tackle waterlogging woes
As Delhi gets ready to welcome the monsoon in a few days, authorities have made elaborate plans to allay fears of waterlogging in the newly opened Pragati Maidan tunnel like constructing underground sumps and installing an automatic pumping system to collect and swiftly drain stormwater during heavy rains.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on June 19 inaugurated the city's first 1.3-km long tunnel and five underpasses as part of the Pragati Maidan Integrated Transit Corridor Project that aims to ease connectivity between central Delhi with the eastern part of the city and satellite towns of Noida and the Ghaziabad.
Officials of the Public Works Department (PWD), the agency that has constructed the tunnel, said since the facility is located in close proximity to the Yamuna flood basin, a new drainage network of wider pipes with high water discharge capacity has been laid there. "There is no need to worry about flooding in the tunnel as automatic pumps along with underground sumps have been constructed in the facility. This will enable swift discharge of stormwater in case of heavy rain. Other than this, temporary pumps will also be kept on standby mode so that they can be quickly deployed whenever required," a senior PWD official said
The tunnel allows commuters travelling to India Gate and other central Delhi areas from east Delhi, Noida and Ghaziabad to ditch traffic snarls at ITO, Mathura Road, Ring Road and Bhairon Marg. The official also said that to further discourage any chances of waterlogging and seepage issues in the tunnel, special attention has been paid to the waterproofing of walls.
He said the geometry of nearby roads has also been improved so that there is no flooding in the newly opened facility. Slope gradients and drains mouths have been designed in a way that the rainwater does not get accumulated in the tunnel or underpasses, the official said.
For the last two years, extensive waterlogging had been taking place in many parts of the city during the monsoon season. In July 2020, a 56-year-old man allegedly drowned when his mini-truck was submerged in water under the Minto Bridge in central Delhi. In May this year, a 40-year-old man drowned at the flooded Pul Prahladpur underpass.
Another PWD official said alarms will also be installed to inform authorities about flooding in the tunnel. A network of wider and large chamber pipes with high water discharge capacity has been laid in and around the facility to quickly ooze out rainwater. The tunnel will be under strict surveillance as nearly 100 CCTV cameras have been installed inside it, he said.
The tunnel starts near the National Sports Complex of India (NSCI) on Purana Qila Road and passes underneath the redeveloped Pragati Maidan to culminate at the Ring Road near Pragati Power station. The construction work of the tunnel was started in March 2018 and it was scheduled to be completed by September 2019. The facility was finally inaugurated after missing five deadlines.
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