BENGALURU: Has the rapid expansion of the city’s outskirts made those areas more prone to floods? Yes, say experts.
Urban infrastructure expert V Ravi Chander said little planning had gone into the development of satellite areas. “In such areas, construction activities have been taken up over drains and lakes. The growth there has been haphazard and without any respect for nature or the local ecosystem,” he told Express.
He said if relentless rains pound the city, those living in the outskirts would be caught in the heart of the crisis. He thinks the worst-hit areas would be Yelahanka and Devanahalli segments.
Another expert termed the Greater Bengaluru plan the “biggest blunder on earth”. “Outskirts of Bengaluru have become more vulnerable to flooding. Unregulated planning is not conducive to the health of the city,” he said.
Former Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) commissioner Siddaiah said the disappearance of lakes is the handiwork of public players like the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) and private developers. Some lakes have been converted into playgrounds while buildings have been constructed atop others, he said.
What’s The Solution?
Experts believe removing encroachments is the only way to ensure that a disaster of the scale of the Chennai floods does not cripple Bengaluru. “This is not a solution that is easy to execute. But drain encroachments must be cleared immediately,” Ravi said.
“A disaster assessment report should be prepared for appropriate disaster response,” he added.
According to Siddaiah, development along the outskirts should be taken up only after ascertaining that water bodies and storm water drains are not affected. Apart from capacity building on the issue, awareness on the importance of lakes should be spread, he said.