BENGALURU: While monsoon in Bengaluru is absolutely wonderful when you’re sitting indoors and sipping on a hot cup of chai, for residents in Shanthinagar, the rains aren’t welcomed with open arms.
This is because each time there’s a downpour in the area,the storm water drain floods onto the roads, and enters peoples’ houses. And that’s not it, sewage water gets mixed up with the storm waste, and sometimes even enters the sumps inside the residents’ houses. For many years now, residents living on Church Road, Nanjappa Road, Basappa Road, and nearby areas have been appealing to the authorities to get this looked into, but with no avail.
Prasad Shivarudrappa, president, RWA, Shanthinagar, says, “A few days ago, many houses on Church Road, Nanjappa Road and Basappa Road got flooded. Last year, the storm water was widened, but even after that the flooding has continued. When we tell the corporator, Saumya Shivakumar’s husband about this, they say the same thing - that they will look into it. But nothing comes out of that.”
He adds, “I spoke to KJ George, minister for Bengaluru development and town planning about this and he instructed the chief engineer to see that it is fixed. But the engineer just came here, looked at the drain and then went away.”
In fact, the Shanthinagar RWA (SRWA) was also set up a few years back with exactly this agenda in mind. “Apart from just our houses, the water enters our sump as well. It’s ruined our flooring too. The corporator doesn’t do anything, it’s all in her husband’s hands and he doesn’t cooperate either. Despite protests from our sides, a permanent solution is never brought about,” says Nagashree, a law student who lives on Nanjappa Road.
Jacintha D’Souza,a resident of Lakshmi Road, who along with her father, has been fighting this issue for several years, says that one of the major reasons why the water enters homes is because of illegal encroachment. “People illegally build gardens and car parking over the drain, which is a huge issue. Apart from that, some of the sewage pipes also flow into the storm water drain. So when there is a heavy downpour, reverse flow of water takes place because the drain is not desilted. This contaminated water enters our homes,” says D’Souza.
She adds that they don’t mind if rain water enters their homes, but when it is mixed with sewage water, it is unacceptable. She even says that this contamination of water also leads to illnesses. “We’ve seen rats, condoms and much more enter our homes. My father has been trying to tackle this problem for as long as I can remember.”
D’souza also adds that playing the blame game is another reason why nothing has been done so far. If residents call the person in charge of storm water drains at the BBMP for desilting, she says it’s because of the illegal encroachment and tells them to contact someone else. “We’ve even found a bathtub and a beanbag in the drain! The last desilting happened about a year back, and now the drain looks like a mini forest because no one looks after it. When we try contacting the corporator’s husband, he says that he has a five-year plan to give the area a makeover, but we know that will never happen.”
When City Express got in touch with Shivakumar, the corporator’s husband, he tells us that in a month’s time, work will start. “We have employed a contractor now, and we have sent a tender as well. The work will start from St Michaels Church and will go up to the Shantinagar Jain Temple. Around `4.5 crore is being allotted for this,” says Shivakumar.
When City Express tried calling Siddegowda, the chief engineer, we got no response.