A breach in Sankey Tank will spell a disaster for residents in nearby areas | Nagaraja Gadekal
A breach in Sankey Tank will spell a disaster for residents in nearby areas | Nagaraja Gadekal

Three cave-ins in four weeks on Sankey Tank Road set off alarm

It is suspected that roots of trees on the slope are growing inside the structure which could be causing hollows leading to cave-ins.

BENGALURU: Three cave-ins in four weeks on Sankey Tank Road in Bengaluru have set off alarm bells for the authorities as they appear to indicate a possible breach that could be disastrous for people living in the adjoining low-lying area of Vyalikaval. The road is on the dam-like structure that separates the lake water spread over 37 acres from Vyalikaval which houses thousands of families in the vicinity of the famous Chowdiah Memorial Hall.

BBMP has admitted to the seriousness of the situation. After two cave-ins on the Sankey Tank Road surface last month — which forced the authorities to seal the traffic lane towards Yeshwanthpur and fill up the caved-in sections — the BBMP has again sealed the same lane after the third cave-in on Sunday.

BS Prahalad, BBMP Chief Engineer (Road and Infrastructure), said, “Sankey Tank Road has become a grave issue and we’re taking it seriously. There is some seepage occurring under the road, but we have yet to pinpoint the location. While the seepage might be anywhere, it will affect some parts of the road, we are trying to identify ingress.”

It is suspected that roots of trees on the slope are growing inside the structure which could be causing hollows leading to cave-ins. Prahalad said an agency has been hired to assess the damage to the road that is not visible to the eye.

‘Sankey Tank area development unscientific’

Prior to Sunday’s sinkhole, the road had witnessed sinkholes during heavy rain last month. While residents noticed an increase in flooding and other issues, they seem assured that drainage into the nearby rajakaluve would remedy the problem.

However, what threatens the low-lying area is the possible hollows that could be caused within the road structure (which may be causing the road cave-ins) that contains the man-made Sankey lake from spilling into and flooding parts of Vyalikaval — a disastrous situation considering that the area is densely populated.

Shivaraj R Biradar, an executive member of the CPI, Karnataka State Council, whose office is located near Chowdiah Memorial Hall, said, “Over the last two years, there has been excessive flooding and other issues in the area as a direct result of the development of the lake. The excess concrete for the park and walkway on the lake’s perimeter has led to the lake becoming smaller and smaller, with less place for the water to go. The buildings are at the same level as the bottom of the lake.”

He said the trees on the slope towards the parallel road were also barely hanging on. “The entire development of the area is very unscientific and unsustainable. If the entire road collapses, the area will be flooded with many being displaced,” he told TNIE. Sisters from nearby Stella Maris School said the lake had been affected by the development of the park. “There has been severe flooding in the school. If you dig the mud on the slope, water gushes out. The seepage of the water through the mud means that our kitchen and eating area, which is in the basement, gets flooded up to the calf,” one of the sisters told TNIE.
Urbanist V Ravihandar said his best guess to the issues faced was due to excessive rain and insufficient drainage.

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