Officials of the Public Works Department (PWD) were today warned by the Delhi High Court that they could face jail for making "repeated false statements" regarding de-silting of the Kushak nullah or drain near South Extension part II here.
A bench of justices Sanjeev Sachdeva and Anil Kumar Chawla said that for five years since 2012 the court has been "struggling" with the PWD over removal of rubble from the drain to ensure rainwater is carried away during monsoons and there is no water logging in nearby colonies.
The court was hearing a PIL initiated by it in 2012 on the issue of water-logging in the South Extension part II area and in which it has passed orders from time to time to the PWD to clear rubble from the Kushak nullah.
"There have been repeated orders by this court and these have been repeatedly violated. They (PWD) have made false statements to the court. It said last year that 'malba' (rubble) would be removed by June 2016.
"The report of local commissioner says there is no change. The 'malba' appears to have been there since 2012. This is a fit case for sending them to jail. Why should they be not sent to jail," the bench said.
The observations and strong remarks by the bench came after it perused the report and photographs submitted by the local commissioner, advocate Gurneet Kaur, appointed by it on June 13 to inspect the drain to ascertain the situation there.
Referring to the photographs submitted by the local commissioner (LC) and those filed on record in the past, the court said there appeared to be no change in the situation.
"It cannot be that the city is left like this for years together," it said.
"Show one single change that has happened in the last five years from these photographs," it told the PWD and directed it to file a status report by June 19 indicating how much de-silting has been done along with comparative photographs.
The bench gave a short period of three days to the department, saying that since the PWD was claiming it would completely clear the Kushak drain of rubble by June 25, in three days there would be some change.
The court also told the PWD that it's officials concerned should be present on the next date of hearing.
It also told the department to indicate who was responsible for removal of the rubble, the agency constructing the Barapullah flyover above the drain or the PWD itself.
The court did not accept the PWD's claims that water was freely flowing in the drain, saying that water has to freely flow at a depth of four meters from road level and not at road level as was happening presently.
It also did not buy the department's argument that de- silting frequency increases during monsoons, saying there is "no frequency".
"Nothing has changed. Everything is rosy on paper, but nothing is happening on the ground. The rains have started and your (PWD) people are not even bothered," it said.
The court on June 13 had told the PWD to finish de- silting the Kushak 'nullah' on a "war-footing" to ensure there is no water-logging in the nearby areas.
It had termed as "unacceptable" the September 2017 deadline given by the PWD to complete the entire work, including completing of Barapullah flyover and removal of construction debris from the drain.
The court had also appointed a local commissioner to inspect the area to verify the PWD's claim that de-silting work was going on after a resident of the area, Manjeet Singh Chugh, said there is no change in removal of rubble.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)