The irony was not lost on anyone when Meerut, part of the ancient Harappan settlement renowned for its sophisticated drainage systems, was promised a decent sewerage system under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewable Mission (JNNURM) as late as 2005. The city seemed poised for a facelift after centuries of decrepit waste disposal infrastructure but, alas, that was not to be.

Seven years hence, even this modest project seems to have ground to a halt. With heaps of garbage lining its choked and dug-up roads, the project — expected to be commissioned by March 2012 —looks far from complete, adding to the city’s miseries.