Come July, people living in over 1,000 locations in Bangalore are likely to be the worst-hit by the rain. The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike has identified 1,077 areas in Bangalore as ‘flood-prone’ and 85 per cent of them have been categorised as ‘critical’. The civic body, however, seems to have done little to deal with the situation.
According to weather predictions, the city is expected to receive good rainfall this monsoon. Normal rainfall in July is 110.2 mm, while it is 442.6 mm for season between June and September.
According to a recent survey by the BBMP, low-lying areas were identified as flood-prone for the purpose of taking short-term and long-term measures.
Encroachment of tank bed areas, indiscriminate dumping of debris and solid waste into drains, blockages in inlets/outlets, location of water bodies and sewer lines inside and across storm water drains are some of the reasons for flooding in many areas, BBMP chief engineer (Storm Water Drains) H C Ananthaswamy told Express. He admitted that there had been delays in the implementation of projects. As a long-term measure and to cope with the havoc caused by rain, the BBMP is implementing a master plan on clearing Raja Kaluves (arterial drains) which is expected to cost Rs 6,000 crore. It will take some more time to complete the project, he added.
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report, released last month, had highlighted the lapses and delays in implementing emergency works. Upa Lokayukta Justice Subash B Adi had also recently taken BBMP officials to task for “turning Bangalore into a slum.” As a short-term measure, to deal with the rain, BBMP has taken up the task of desilting some SWDs and will also keep sand bags where parapet walls have collapsed to prevent water from entering houses.
As a long-term solution, the BBMP proposes to implement the master plan which includes re-modelling of culverts/bridges, remodelling primary and secondary drains to improve their carrying capacity, setting up rain gauge stations and data monitoring centres, developing existing water bodies as retention basins and fixing flood control gates, preventing sewage flow in drains, enforcing rainwater harvesting and providing mobile pumping stations for low-lying areas. No timeline has been fixed for the implementation of this project.
There needs to be a comprehensive plan and authorities should take up SWD projects before the rainy season and not after it starts, said urban expert V Ravichander. “The way the desilting contracts are given out is very opaque. The kind of labour and work is not up to the mark. There needs to be a strict third-party inspection to certify works before the contractors are paid.”
(With inputs from Ashwini M Sripad)