Karnataka rains: After Kodagu, now Bengaluru comes under flood radar

This monsoon, Bengaluru seems to have escaped the brunt of rainfall so far, while Kodagu and the neighbouring state of Kerala are battling incessant rains, landslides and widespread damage.

Published: 21st August 2018 04:42 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st August 2018 12:25 PM   |  A+A-

Heavy rainfall expected in September; city not yet prepared to deal with excess downpour despite past experience; drain encroachments remain. | Express Photo Services

Express News Service

BENGALURU: This monsoon, Bengaluru seems to have escaped the brunt of rainfall so far, while Kodagu and the neighbouring state of Kerala are battling incessant rains, landslides and widespread damage.

However, the city’s luck may run out soon as the Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC) has predicted heavy rainfall in September.

With the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) just beginning the work of removing encroachments across the city, a repeat of last year’s flooding could well be a possibility. 

In 2017, the rainfall in September and October was more than the normally expected figures. Bengaluru received 383.3mm of rain in September, while the normal is around 179mm. In October as well, the rainfall was 226.9mm against the normal of 159.7mm — an excess of 120 per cent in September and 42 per cent in October.

While the expected rainfall this year is not as much as that of 2017, according to officials, the city is not yet in the safe zone and the scanty rainfall so far seems to have lulled the BBMP into complacency. 

“This year, in the monsoon period (June to August), Bengaluru Urban district has a 30 per cent deficit in rainfall. This is similar to the situation last year. While rains in the next two months might not be as heavy as last year, it doesn’t mean that the city is safe,” KSNDMC director, Srinivas Reddy, said. Speaking to City Express, he pointed out that at present, they can predict rain for the next three to four days.

However, weather patterns building up over the Bay of Bengal could bring heavy rains to the city if they develop into a full-fledged storm, he said. The Centre has also sent out an advisory to the BBMP warning them of the same. 

In BBMP limits, there are 633 stormwater drains, totalling 842 km. Of these, primary drains make up 142 km and secondary drains 426 km. The drains are built to deal with 80mm of rainfall in a day but over the years, encroachments and poor maintenance have narrowed down the capacity to just 35-40 mm of rainfall.

As a result, any rainfall above this figure will result in flooding. In July 2016, BBMP officials had given a list of 1,953 stormwater drain encroachments to the then Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. Of these, they had cleared 1,255 encroachments by end of 2017.

However, since last year, the encroachment removal drive was not taken up as there were no surveyors.

“We had written a letter to the Joint Director of Land Records to depute surveyors, but there were delays on their side. A few months back they finally deputed ten surveyors,” an official source said. But this might be too little too late to save the city this year should KSNDMC’s predictions come true. 

BT Bettegowda, BBMP Chief Engineer (SWD), said the process of removing encroachments had just begun at KR Puram, Yeshwantpur and other places.

“This time, Bengaluru will not flood. We have taken adequate measures,” he assured. But other officials in the BBMP realise that these efforts might not be of any use this year.

“For one year, BBMP did nothing but wait for surveyors. Natural calamities do not wait for anyone,” a BBMP official rued. 

To make matters worse, lakes in the city are also in a bad shape.

“Out of 160 existing lakes, 141 are under the control of BBMP. Silt has been removed from 58 lakes, and recently, we called tenders to remove silt from another 15 lakes. But it can’t be done before the rains. The state government has not given enough grants for this. We have not removed silt, which means if it rains heavily or even slightly above the normal figures, there will be an overflow of water in and around lakebed areas,” a BBMP official on condition of anonymity told City Express. It can be recalled that in 2017, many areas of Bengaluru, located near lakes, witnessed flooding.

One step that the BBMP has taken, however, to avoid the deaths that happened last year during the rains is to cover the drains in most places.

Last year, open drains had led to deaths due to people falling into the drains at Sheshadripuram and Kurubarahalli. 


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  • N.Narasimhan

    Professionalism & proactivenes is in deficit. Preparedness requires detailed planning. If these factors are implemented sincerely Bengaluru will find lesser problems.
    3 years ago reply
  • Devendran

    In Ramachandrapura Main Road ( Near Vidyaranyapura) on foot path every day panipuri carts are obstructing the pedestrians who move on footpath. they encroached even 1/10 of the road. Every day police personnel are collecting money from them. BBMP officials are not bothered about this. Road side business people put all cups and other used items in drainage. If it rains certainly water clogs.
    3 years ago reply
    • vishal

      In Ramamurthynagar one can see on foot path every one doing roaring business. A hefty of Policeman collect money from these people in the evenings.
      3 years ago reply
  • Vinod Nayak

    B B M P should make proper drainage arrangement and remove the obstructions on roads and in canal's for free flow of rain water so that citizens of metro city won't face problems when rain starts pouring like in Kodagu.Prevention is better than cure.
    3 years ago reply
  • Shankar

    Most of flood situations may be addressed by proper management of water level in lakes and flow rate in canals. This initiative involves strategically placed high volume axial flow pumps for rapid water evacuation and transfer. The saying is WALL IT UP OR PUMP IT OUT. BBMP is resorting to the former which is time consuming, cumbersome and highly expensive. The latter engages IOT Technology and suitable hardware with the integrated system manages heavy rainfall events through data intelligence. Pity the smart city is not that smart.
    3 years ago reply
  • Ravindran Srinivasan

    Bengaluru Being At A Height Of 3000 feet Above Sea Level Is Like A Hill With upward & Downward gradient roads resulting in flooding at the downward gradient both the sewerage drains , roads & storm water drains , Frankly The drain near my house gets clogged even on normal days as various hotels that clean their cooking vessels empty the oily water which forms a huge cake like substance mixed with water & clogs the outlet. One small opening of the storm water drain results in 100's of cups , plastic plates , spoons , covers etc being thrown into it by the so called mobile sellers of coffee , Pani poori etc , I also see BBMP sweepers brooming the leftovers on the road into the drain ,Surely these would block the drain & one heavy rain leave alone Something like kerala floods ( bangalore cannot survive even 20 percent ) chokes these sewerage & storm water drain Allowing the water to enter houses at the lower end of road gradient . Unless these throwing of waste items stop whether by common public , particularly hotel & other Mobile shops These flooding would happen , BBMP or Government can at enormous cost clean the storm water drain but those efforts would prove futile unless awareness voluntarily or by stringent law to prevents misuse of Sewerage & Storm water drains is in place , Also Vehicles indiscriminately park over the platform , particularly cars like toyota innova etc & break the storm water drain cover resulting in easy garbage dumping & life threatening accident to pedestrians Police take money from such drivers & turn a blind eye to such blatant parking methods , If These are prevented 70 to 80 percent flooding can be avoided
    3 years ago reply
    • tushar

      People put plastic in drains too. shopkeeper, sweepers, shop keeperz...everyone needs to change.
      3 years ago reply
    • Kumaranna

      Wow man!!! Are you sure u r in Bengaluru? If yes, where? We can avoid buying real estate there!
      3 years ago reply
  • Srinivasan B

    This is perhaps the reason that Bangalore is building elevated corridors. We would not have this problem in future.
    3 years ago reply
  • K.G.Jayashankar

    Shoulder drains are clogged resultantly water logging is noticed. Respective Ward Officers clear such clogs for free movement of rain water. Debris either on foot paths or roads should be cleared on war footing as there is hardly very very short time.
    3 years ago reply
  • Shanu

    We should start boycotting taxes if these people cannot take care of the city.
    3 years ago reply
  • Satya

    Another silver-lining is what ever Whether department predicts it will not happen , so Sept Rain may not be that high , Hopping , Praying, Just took Cab another 2 hours on road to Home
    3 years ago reply
  • Prof Dibyendu Ray

    IT has to save Bangalore not politicians...as they are busy in encroaching prime land and property in Bangalore.
    3 years ago reply
  • Venkataraman Ramesh

    Don't worry for the September rain fall. State CM has already planned to visit rest of the left out temples in the state, to pray for less rainfall in Bengaluru. So not to worry and also not to criticize him for his temple visits.
    3 years ago reply
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