Sunday, September 19, 2010


It rained throughout last night. 5.30 in the morning as I stepped out of my house to walk my pet….splotch…………Oops……Oh! No, not a puddle but almost a pool of water right in front of my flat (ground floor) and that too over the manhole. The manhole did not look blocked but the water was also not passing through either. As a result, the much dreaded water logging. Time ticked by and the day cleared a bit; but my attention kept on getting diverted towards the water pool. For once, I was not enjoying the incessant rainfall. So, I did the next best thing. I went out (my backdoor opens to the staircase) and observed the water level going higher and higher till it almost touched the foot of the stair where I was standing.

Almost a year back, we had a similar problem minus the rainfall. Our shaft would remain full of stagnant water for days. As a result, a foul stench persisted and permeated inside the flats. Above all, we had a liquid den of all kinds of water borne diseases ready at hand. Moreover, due to the water chocked shaft, the Delhi Jal Board representative refused to enter the premise and check the water meters. So, we were getting provisional water bills with constant stinkers from DJB to get the shaft cleaned.

But mere cleaning would not help. As we cleaned, a few days after again the shaft got filled with water. On investigation, I learnt that it was the handiwork of the garden rodents who playfully scraped huge mounds of soil underground blocking the drains. Our block is dotted with parks, small and large. The rodents would be scampering everywhere freely! The solution was replacing the age old cemented drain pipes by PVC pipes. The cemented pipes had been laid at the time of construction of these flats (almost twenty years back). These therefore had developed cracks and breakages having not been repaired / replaced since then. This pipe also connected the shaft to the main outlet i.e. the manhole.

As this was a major repair work, I approached the RWA (Residents Welfare Association) who advised me to inform the MCD (Municipal Corporation of Delhi) as repair of drainage system was their designated job. They helpfully gave me the mobile number of the JE (Junior Engineer) also. But JE had a different story to tell when I rang him up. I was enlightened that MCD’s purview of repair work begins when the manhole starts overflowing. Since, just water was coagulating inside the shaft and there was no overflow outside, the repair job did not fall within the ambit of MCD’s work! He suggested that I got the job done through a private party.

Since, it was a common problem, the residents of our building got together and finally one Sunday the work started. In order to replace the pipe, the road had to be dug up. Some thoughtful neighbor seeing the labourer digging the road complained to DDA (Delhi Development Authority) who quickly sent their representative accompanied by a Police Constable.

The DDA official accused us of committing an offence of digging the road which residents were not permitted to do. He said it was illegal and that MCD should have been entrusted the job. As I had taken the initiative, I informed the official what had transpired in the conversation with the JE. On hearing my story, they fussed a bit over the issue, mildly though. Even if they had any ulterior motive they could not vocalize the same being confronted by a lady. Ultimately, it was with the united efforts of the residents that the repair was completed.

Thereafter, almost a year has passed by but I have not seen any MCD personnel coming and cleaning the manholes which should form part of their routine job with or without any overflow. No wonder then that we have to now spend the days with crossed fingers that the rains should recede fast so that we are saved from water logging and flowing inside our flats.

My question to all of you is what is this? Apathy to work? Callousness? Or just another instance of moral corruption – taking big fat salary home at the end of the month with meager or next to nil output?

And as I post this Diary, it’s still raining………..

God Help Us!

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