Rajat Sharma


rajat-sirWith the Met department forecasting light to moderate rains in Delhi and surrounding areas, the flood situation in North and East Delhi has become grim with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal asking his chief secretary to call in the army. A war of words erupted between Delhi minister Saurabh Bharadwaj and Lt Governor V K Saxena over relief work, with Saxena saying, this was not the time for blame game. Kejriwal said, the Indraprastha drain regulator of Delhi Jal Board has been damaged, and the breach has resulted flood in many localities. Already the capital is facing drinking water shortage after closure of three water treatment plants. By evening, work in one water treatment plant resumed. Three crematoriums, Nigam Bodh Ghat, Wazirabad and Geeta Colony have been shut after water entered the premises. On Thursday, more water was released in Yamuna from Hathni Kund barrage in Haryana. Nearly 20 per cent areas in Delhi are presently under water. Yamuna water level is flowing more than 11 feet above danger level. As a teenager, I spent most of my life in the localities of Old Delhi, but I never saw such a deluge. I had seen the floods of 1978. At that time too, the areas around Red Fort were not so well developed. Only parts of Old Delhi and Rajghat were submerged, but today’s situation is really grim. Any fall in Yamuna water level in Delhi can happen only after low release of water from Hathni Kund barrage. Presently, the barrage is overflowing because of huge flow of water from Himachal Pradesh. I spoke to several experts including town planners and weather scientists. I asked them the exact reasons for the deluge in Delhi. All of them said, while release of water from Hathni Kund barrage could be one of the reasons, the main culprit is Delhi’s drainage system, built by the British. The drainage system in Old Delhi cannot handle a deluge of this magnitude. Drains are never cleaned, and with uncontrolled rise in population density, the drainage system has not improved. Secondly, desilting of Yamuna is not done properly. The water carrying capacity of the river has become low. Thirdly, lakhs of people have occupied the Yamuna riverbed. They have built houses on the riverbed itself. In other words, the river has not entered the city, the city has reached the river. Until and unless the situation is not changed, such problems will exist. I have already told you the opinion of a professor from IIT, Gandhinagar. He was saying that extreme weather conditions due to global warming will now be the new norm every year. Delhiites will have the bear the consequences accordingly.


The brutal lathicharge by Patna police on Thursday on BJP protesters needs to be condemned in unequivocal terms. Even women and MPs were not spared from police lathicharge. Several of them suffered with broken legs, heads and shoulders. Vijay Kumar Singh, district BJP general secretary of Jehanabad, fell unconscious after being hit by a police lathi. He was rushed to hospital, where he was declared dead. BJP leaders said, they will file a case against Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for the death of their worker. Patna Police said, Singh died not due to lathicharge, but because of the stampede that took place. The protest was organized by BJP to oppose the change made in domicile rule for hiring of teachers, non-completion of one million jobs promise made by RJD, and demand for resignation of Deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav charge sheeted by CBI in railway job scam. Patna Police cannot absolve its responsibility by saying that the BJP worker did not die because of lathicharge. Visuals clearly show police using lathis indiscriminately on the crowd, breaking people’s heads and legs, and blood flowing on the street. The lathicharge, BJP alleged, was all of a sudden. Whenever political parties organize protest marches, some amount of use of force happens, when workers try to cross barricades. But this cannot be the reason for police using brutal force indiscriminately. It seems, police were given instructions in advance to beat up the protesters. At least, Nitish Kumar should not try to defend his police. He must take action against the guilty police officers.

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