Rising level of Yamuna puts the Capital’s supply chains in muddy waters

Photos and videos of flooding in New Delhi have been circulating on the news for a couple of days now. The Yamuna River which passes through the capital and further down to other states, has swelled up beyond the danger mark and water from the river has flooded the low-lying areas. It is for the first time in 45 years that the Yamuna has breached the 206 meter level and has been recorded flowing at 207.55 meter. This has caused severed water loggiging across various parts of East and North Delhi.

In a precautionary move to address the rising water levels of the River, the government of Delhi has imposed various restrictions and closed all schools, colleges, and government institutions in the Capital. The government has also, for the time being, ceased the entry of heavy goods vehicles at four borders of Delhi – Singhu Border, Badarpur Border, Loni Border and Chilla Border. The ban, announced by Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot, aims to mitigate potential disruptions caused by the swelling river.

The ban on heavy vehicles does not apply to those carrying essential items, including food and petroleum products. Apart from this, the state transport buses transporting passengers from Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Uttarakhand and Jammu & Kashmir will be diverted to the Singhu Border instead of going to the Kashmiri Gater Inter-State Bus Terminal.

The disruptions in the supply chain caused by the rising Yamuna levels emphasize the need for proactive measures to mitigate the impact of natural disasters on logistics and transportation. The situation in Delhi reflects the broader challenge of managing supply chains in the face of extreme weather events and climate change.

It is not the first time that parts of Delhi have been shut down due to extreme rain and flooding. The lack of an adequate drainage system, the encroachments on floodplains, and other inappropriate infrastructure causes the capital city to face this situation every year, even though not of this extent, especially in the low-lying areas. The current flood situation in Delhi underscores the urgency of addressing these issues and implementing resilient strategies to protect critical supply chains.

With the entry of heavy goods vehicles being stopped in the capital, it is obvious that goods which act as raw materials for factories located in dry parts of the city will be shutting shop for at least a few days. Moreover, the vehicles that were to pass through Delhi will have to either wait outside the borders or take a different and longer route to their destination. This will induce a major delay in all the other links of the supply chains as well. With major transportation routes also being affected, it will be difficult to replenish inventory at retail stores or distribution centres, which can lead to stockouts or imbalances in inventory levels, affecting customer satisfaction and sales.

Apart from this, the manufacturing and storage units in the flood-affected areas also face a risk of extreme damage to machinery and stock. The flood waters can damage stored goods and equipment, leading to inventory losses. It may be necessary to relocate operations from these facilities until the water level recedes. Plus, from the quick commerce network spread across the city, it is inevitable that the part included in the affected areas will be shut completely, causing a situation where people will have to struggle to find basic groceries or even medical supplies.

It is high time now that the government of Delhi places appropriate infrastructural changes into place – measures that will help the Capital City to combat the effects of natural phenomena in a better manner.

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