BANGALORE: Last year’s pre-monsoon showers, which flooded many areas in the city, had exposed the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike’s (BBMP) lack of preparedness.
But this year, BBMP seems to have learnt from its mistakes and has prepared for the vulnerable areas an action plan which includes desilting storm water drains, clearing encroachments and identifying bottlenecks. It also plans to trim trees and cut a few that block the flow of water along the 170-km stretch of storm water drains (SWD) in core areas.
On May 31 last year, the city recorded over 100 mm rain that flooded 172 houses and uprooted close to 50 trees. Water from drains overflowed in low-lying areas and threw traffic out of gear. That day, BBMP’s head office was flooded with complaints. Hence, this time, it has invited tenders for clearing storm water drains. An official said the tenders would be finalised by the end of this week and the works completed by month-end.
Ananthaswamy, chief engineer, Storm Water Drain Division, said around 15 per cent of the garbage enters the drains and blocks culverts and raja kaluves (major drains).
Usually, during the first few spells, flooding is reported from at least 50 low-lying areas in various parts of the city.
He admitted to the civic body’s lack of a fool-proof solution in case of heavy rain and said, “Core areas like Madivala, Ulsoor, Mysore Road, Gurappanapalaya, Eijipura, Srinivagilu Tank and Padarayanapura get flooded because of many low-lying areas. We can avoid this only by clearing garbage and silt.”
Under the BBMP action plan, work on clearing silt and garbage will be taken up in 37 vulnerable locations. “We will take up such works in core areas every year. For newly-added zones like Yelahanka, Dasarahalli and Madadevapura, a project on remodeling storm water drains at a cost of `1,000 crore has been approved,” he said.
Lakes to Control Floods
BBMP Commissioner Lakshminarayana said a team is inspecting culverts and drains, and encroachments would be cleared. He said around 300 houses were flooded last year because of encroachment in one of the lakes near Hoysalanagar.
Channels had to be dug to drain the water. Now channels will be dug in advance to avoid flooding, he said.
BBMP plans to ensure that water flows smoothly through the storm water drains and reaches the lakes and four valleys. Bellandur, Hebbal, Koramangala and Vrushabhavathy valleys will receive flood water from the drains.
BBMP Chief Engineer of Lakes Division B V Satish said the civic body is the custodian of 59 lakes, of which 41 have been cleared of sewage. After the rains, these lakes will hold good water. Work on other lakes will start soon, he said.
Meanwhile, civic expert V Ravichandra said the BBMP isn’t proactive. “The planning, tender and work on urgent issues like these get cleared only at the last moment. Bills get cleared for such work. But there will be no results,” he said.