Delhi floods: 3 boys drown even as Yamuna water level drops to 207.98 metres

After breaching a 45-year record three days ago, the water level in the Yamuna in Delhi declined to 207.98 metres at 11 pm on July 14

Flooded alley at the Monastery Tibet Market area after heavy monsoon rains caused the rise in waters of Yamuna river in New Delhi, on Wednesday, July 12. (photo: Vipin/National Herald)
Flooded alley at the Monastery Tibet Market area after heavy monsoon rains caused the rise in waters of Yamuna river in New Delhi, on Wednesday, July 12. (photo: Vipin/National Herald)

NH Digital

Three boys drowned while bathing in the floodwaters in northwest Delhi's Mukundpur Chowk area on Friday, July 14. These were the first deaths reported in the city since the Yamuna water crossed the danger mark last Monday, July 10.

The raging Yamuna showed signs of calming on Friday — after breaching a 45-year record just three days ago, the water level in the Yamuna in Delhi declined to 207.98 metres at 11 pm, the first time it fell below the 208-metre mark in the last 48 hours, according to official data.

However, the breach in a drain regulator led to waterlogging in some parts of Delhi such as the ITO, with flood water reaching close to the Supreme Court complex, causing hardship for the people. Water also entered the Mahatma Gandhi memorial at Rajghat due to backflow from a drain in the area.

While Delhi Fire Services Director Atul Garg claimed the deaths occurred in a ditch at a metro construction site, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) issued a clarification, saying, "No such incident has been reported from our sites." "DMRC's sites are properly barricaded and entry is strictly regulated only for authorised personnel," it said.

As the Yamuna water level reduced, the Okhla water treatment plant, which was shut on Thursday, July 13, was opened.

In the evening, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the Wazirabad and Chandrawal water treatment plants will resume functioning if the Yamuna level goes down to 207.7 metres on Saturday, July 16.

The Irrigation and Flood Control Department's regulator installed near the Indraprastha bus stand and the WHO Building was being repaired with sandbags, braces and boulders. Kejriwal and Lieutenant Governor Vinay Kumar Saxena took stock of the repair works.

Following the breach, water started to flow into the city through the drain, inundating the Ring Road, Indraprastha Metro Station, IP Depot, ITO and Vikas Marg, reaching the entrance of the Supreme Court in central Delhi.

Vikas Marg, one of the important stretches connecting east and Central Delhi, was closed for traffic as vehicular movement went haywire and commuters got stuck for hours in traffic jams.

Delhi Cabinet minister Saurabh Bharadwaj alleged there was a delay in the deployment of the NDRF for repairing the regulator even as the L-G asked him not to indulge in a blame game.

Interrupting Saxena during his media address, Bhardwaj said he reached out to the officers last night, asking them to deploy NDRF teams to make the repairs but "there was no response".

"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," the L-G said.

The Indraprastha water regulator was breached due to a strong current in the river and is likely to be repaired within three-four hours, Kejriwal had said earlier in the day while visiting the site. The repair work was on till Friday evening.

Later, the L-G office said the embankment at breached water regulator was 80 per cent complete and the Army with finish the work by Friday night.

The flow of water from the river was so strong that it breached the regulator and entered the city. Even though the water level in the Yamuna is receding, the damaged regulator led to excess water in ITO and nearby areas, Kejriwal told PTI Video.

Visiting the ITO barrage, where five of the 32 games are jammed, obstructing the drainage of water out of Delhi, he said, "The Navy is working to open them but it cannot be said when these will be opened." "The Haryana government is responsible for the maintenance of the barrage but they have no interest. We will surely begin the process to take control of the barrage," Kejriwal told reporters.

He, however, said this was not the time for a blame game. Everyone should work together to tide over this huge crisis, the chief minister stressed.

Aam Aadmi Party leader Sanjay Singh lashed out at the BJP-led Haryana government, accusing it of being responsible for the Delhi flood by releasing water in the Yamuna from its Hathnikund barrage Hitting back, Delhi BJP president Virendra Sachdeva alleged the Kejriwal dispensation was "evading responsibility" and blaming other states for the flood-like situation in the city, as it did during the Covid period.

Meanwhile, more than 60 students from Blind School in Kingsway Camp in northwest Delhi were rescued to safety by a team of the Delhi Police after floodwaters entered its premises.

The NDRF team, using boats, rescued 60 dogs and 50 cows that were stuck at an animal shelter home in Mayur Vihar due to inundation.

The flood-like situation in Delhi has also inundated crematoriums in the vicinity of the Yamuna.

Crematoriums at Nigambodh Ghat, Geeta Colony, Wazirabad and Sarai Kale Khan have been closed because of flooding, Mayor Shelly Oberoi said on Friday.

The Delhi Traffic Police closed vehicular movement in both directions on the Vikas Marg. No vehicles were allowed from Laxmi Nagar T-point to A point in ITO and vice-versa.

Vikas Marg, which is one of the main stretches connecting east and Central Delhi, saw commuters getting stuck for hours in traffic jams before the curbs were put in. Vehicular movement has also been restricted on both carriageways of the Mahatma Gandhi Marg.

The Delhi Traffic Police has put out an alert urging people to plan their journeys accordingly in view of the flood-like situation in many parts of the city.

Over 4,500 traffic personnel have been deployed in affected areas to decongest traffic and help navigate commuters, police said, adding, the traffic restrictions will be lifted depending on how fast the water recedes.

Work on the construction of a 560-metre bridge, the first metro bridge over the Yamuna to be built using the cantilever construction technique, has also been halted due to the rising water level of the river.

The IMD issued a 'yellow' alert for Saturday as it predicted moderate rain and thundershowers for that day. 

With PTI inputs

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