Harish (34), a tailor, fell on the road after his scooty hit a waterlogged pothole in east Delhi Thursday evening. Vehicles were behind him, but all of them were moving slowly and it gave time to Harish to get out of harm’s way. He picked up a bundle of clothes that had fallen from his bike on the road stretch between Samshaan Ghat in Geeta Colony and Jheel Chowk in block 10.
Harish was on his way to deliver the clothes to fellow tailors from whom he gets work on sub-contract. “I have to rush to home now and get them washed before delivery. I drive cautiously on this stretch in rainy seasons, but today I was unlucky. Due to waterlogging, the pothole was not visible.
The road stretch has become a problem for commuters on a daily basis, according to Jagjit Singh, 9 Block, Geeta Colony RWA vice-president. Almost every day, commuters fall on this stretch, said Singh. “The whole stretch has several potholes and traffic movement has become very difficult. The rainy season has added to the misery,” added Singh. He said the RWA had written to authorities, but was yet to get any response.
Delhi has already seen a death this year after a fall in circumstances similar to Harish’s. On July 30, Praveen Kumar (45), was crushed to death by a water tanker after falling off his motorcycle when it got stuck in a pothole in south Delhi’s Vasant Kunj.
S K Bagga, AAP MLA from Krishna Nagar East, said the stretch was under the East Delhi Municipal Corporation.”I have written several times to the corporation on the pathetic condition of this stretch of road. They replied they were unable to do anything and claimed they had no funds. When I called up the councillor, there was no response. I am preparing the estimates and will start the work from the MLA fund after the rains.” Calls to councillor Kalpana Jain of ward number 229 did not elicit any response.
Places in Central Delhi also showed similar signs of problems Thursday and for locals, it was a familiar experience. They narrow streets of Daryaganj witness the spectacle every monsoon. Drains spill on to the streets and people have to wade through slush to access the labyrinth beyond. Most shops and houses in the locality are below street level. Often, overflowing water seeps inside. With several printing presses, welding shops and book godowns housed in the area, the residents risk not just their health but also livelihood.
“The problem is old and so expected that no one even complains to anyone in authority any more. It is not an election issue, it is not a talking point for us,” said Sanjay Kumar, a book printer sitting 3-ft below the road.
Another resident, Neelofar, said when her kids leave for school, “their uniforms get dirty just leaving the colony”.
The Daryaganj ward is represented by BJP’s Simmi Jain and the assembly constituency (Chandni Chowk) by AAP’s Alka Lamba. Despite repeated attempts, they could not be reached for comment.