The city was battered by rains last weekend. Now, nearly a week later, occupants of Lovedale apartment located on Kingston Cross Road, Ulsoor Lake are still struggling to come to terms with the fact that they were forced to take shelter in nearby hotels and lodges. Thursday will mark the sixth consecutive day of them being unable to go back into their homes. All thanks to the water logging caused by the rainfall. Apparently, Lovedale’s basement is now submerged under six-feet-deep water.
As a result, people residing in these apartments have decided to take a temporary shelter outside or with relatives until the problem gets resolved. “This place is uninhabitable. In fact, one of our neighbours is a senior citizen who has a rod fitted in his leg. He is struggling to climb two floors everyday because the lift is not operational,” said Santosh, a resident who along with a couple of others, has taken leave from office and is trying to get the issue sorted out as soon as possible.
Apart from a few cars, bikes and a vintage jeep amongst other collector’s items being completely damaged; the electricity panel in the basement is under water too. Accentuating on the urgent need for immediate action, Santosh said, “This apartment is at least 12 to 13 years old. And now, to top it all, there is no electric supply in the building as the electric panel cannot be touched or switched on until it is completely dry.”
According to Shashi, another person residing in the building, the power supply was switched off in order to prevent short circuits. “It can be restored only after we obtain the required safety clearance from the electrical contractor. Pumping out water and drying of the area has been taken up on top priority,” he said and further added that he was devastated to realise that his surprise gift to his daughter -- a bicycle -- was also submerged in water. Moreover, he had to shell out Rs 6,000 to get his vehicle repaired.
The issue: Residents believe that the reason for water entering the basement is primarily due to the ongoing construction activity in the neighbourhood. Apparently, the second block in the apartment used to be a bungalow and will now be converted into a commercial complex. “A lot of construction debris was dumped on the mini storm water drain that goes in front of our apartment. The material had covered almost half of the drainage and that led to blockage and flooding,” he said. Shashi added, “There are construction workers staying in shanty houses and again they were built over the storm water drain. All this has cause for overflow of the drain during heavy rains, which has now seeped into our basement.”
No response from BBMP: An e-mail was sent by one of the flat owners to the BBMP commissioner. A hard copy was also handed over to their office in Kasturinagar. “Our letter to the commissioner was to seek support to resolve the problem in a sustainable way. We requested them to clear the blocks and prevent recurrence of material entering the drain. To our shock, we have not received any response from the BBMP till date despite sending them e-mails and informing the authorities in our area,” said Shashi who further added. “Surprisingly, there is some confusion with respect to our ward. Though we are paying the BBMP tax at ward number 79, we were directed to go and give the complaint at C V Raman Nagar. We were again asked to go to Fraser Town. Interestingly, the BBMP office here was open to help but they were no officers to attend to us. Moreover, the peon had disappeared from the office. We have contacted Raju, the assistant engineer of BBMP and handed over the documents to Muniraju at Kasturinagar. We were only asked to shuttle from one office to the other. Neither have we got a reply nor any authorities have turned up to check out the place,” he said.
BBMP reaction: When we asked the assistant engineer, Raju, about the whole issue, he said, “I saw the letter along with photos sent by the people of Lovedale Apartments yesterday. We will soon be issuing a letter to the builder who has blocked the storm water drain with construction material. We are yet to ascertain the damages and look into the problem.”