Dwarka: The sub-city of Dwarka has been on the front page of newspapers and in news on many TV channels since Monday evening when a road caved in following heavy rainfall near Atulya Chowk in Sector 18. The depression was so big that a car sinked into it along with driver Ashwani, a constable in Delhi Traffic Police. The constable was rescued without any serious injury. A new debate over who is responsible for this mishap has erupted after the incident.
If one were to look at previous records, such incidents are not a new phenomena in the area especially during the monsoon season. There have been many past incidents when roads and footpaths have caved in. After the incident on Monday, old photographs of cave-in incidents in the same area have also surfaced. Although this was the first such life-threatening incident, past photos depict a similar state of roads.
Talking on the subject, a resident of Crescent Apartments, Sector 18, Madhu Dagar said that many more such incidents of cave-in have happened in the area. She said two well-grown trees had sunk into the ground after heavy rain near her apartment complex in 2019. She had complained to the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) authority back then. She shared the incident's photographs and a copy of the complaint as well.
“It was horrible to see the cave-in with trees submerged into it. It was like a deep gorge never seen before in the city. I sent my complaint to the concerned agency. Now a similar incident happened merely 200 metres away from the previous place. This time, there was a threat to life. Agencies must take it seriously as Sector 18 has been witnessing such incidents time and again.”
A year before that in 2018, a similar incident was reported from Sector 7's service road where a huge portion of road caved in in July after heavy rainfall. The caved-in portion, which is in the service lane, was so deep that the main sewer line (about eight feet deep) was visible. After the incident was reported to civic bodies, the area was barricaded by the police and Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and Delhi Jal Board (DJB).
Anil Parashar, a resident of Sri Agrasen Apartments, Sector 7, who reported the incident that time and shared the photographs in various WhatsApp groups and on social media said, “Civic bodies do not seem proactive otherwise such incidents could have been averted. Yesterday's incident has shaken all and it must be taken seriously.”
In all the three incidents, the area of the cave-in was big and deep. Regardless, big or small, road cave-ins are dangerous, even fatal, for commuters.
On Tuesday, a DDA team visited the spot at Sector 18 and said that some cavity created underground caused the sinking of the road. Ramesh Mumukshu, a social activist from Sector 16B, who was present during the DDA's visit, said, " The DDA officials also informed the DJB officials and they visited the site. I gathered that DDA and DJB are the agencies concerned with the subject. This is a dangerous situation and must be taken on war footing to avoid such incidents.”
On the subject, a Civil Engineer, Anuj Sinha said, “Such cave-ins happen all of a sudden and that is its nature. It happens because of the drain or underground pipeline. If the restoration work is not done properly after laying of the pipeline, the cave-ins are bound to happen. During rain, the soil around the pipelines is washed out loosening the grip. In continuous rain, the pressure of water in drains makes the internal area weak and the surface above it caves-in. A pipeline of sewer or water which was not fixed properly or was leaking leads to such mishaps. This is sheer negligence at the time of laying of the pipeline.”