BENGALURU: Though located in a ‘safe zone’ geographically, Bengaluru will do well to be prepared for a flood-like situation, like the one that has thrown life out of gear in Chennai. For, the rapid changes to the city’s environment and the global climate change are bound to show their effects at some point, say experts.
Poor urban planning, and encroachment of wetlands and storm water drains only compound the problem. Moreover, questions have been raised about the preparedness of civil defence agencies in case such a disaster strikes the city.
T V Ramachandra from the Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, told Express that many parts of the city are often flooded after receiving 90 mm of rain or so. “Rainfall, as witnessed in Chennai, is bound to happen due to climate change,” he said.
In the heavy rains that lashed the city in September-October 2005, five people were killed, 50 houses collapsed and hundreds of buildings were damaged in low-lying areas.
In June 2002, during the south-west monsoon, flash floods were reported in parts of the city.
A recent study by IISc had warned that heavy rains could flood North Bengaluru due to the fragile storm water drain network there.
According to G S Sreenivas Reddy, director of the Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC), even brief concentrated showers could flood many of the city’s low-lying areas. The centre has identified 145 low-lying areas that are prone to flooding in Bengaluru.
“Rainfall between 30 mm and 50 mm in the span of an hour or two would inundate these areas,” he said. The areas include Silk Board Junction, Sampangiramnagar, Parappana Agrahara, BTM Layout and Ejipura.
Urbanisation to Blame?
Even a short spell of rain often brings the city to a grinding halt, causing traffic jams almost everywhere. “How will it be if the city receives more showers
over an extended period of time?” wondered Ramachandra.
Blaming unplanned urbanisation for all the problems faced by the city, he said decongesting Bengaluru is the only solution. “Removing encroachments on lakebeds and canals on priority basis and reconnecting lakes are crucial to ensure the city doesn’t succumb to floods if they come,” he said.
Meanwhile, acknowledging the quick changes forced upon the city’s topography, the disaster management unit of the Revenue Department has formulated plans to deal with crises.
A Revenue Department representative said capacity-building schemes for civil defence personnel were among the programmes organised to prepare them for worst-case scenarios. He said government departments have been briefed on their roles in the case of a natural calamity.