BENGALURU: A day after torrential rain claimed three lives in the city, all the major political parties were out in full force in a show of solidarity with the families of the victims. While the opposition parties sought to bait the Congress government over the pothole- and rain-related deaths, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah accused them of trying to gain political mileage out of the issue.
In a blistering attack, BJP state president B S Yeddyurappa remarked that it seems the state government is dead. Blaming the Congress government for the recent pothole deaths and rain-related deaths, he said minisers and party leaders were making “irresponsible statements.”
JD(S) MLC T A Saravana said that BJP and Congress have been in power over the last 10 years. The current situation in Bengaluru is because both governments did not take up civic works seriously, he said.
Siddaramaiah, with his cabinet colleagues D K Shivakumar, Ramalinga Reddy and K J George in tow, visited Kurubarahalli on Saturday, where three people died and two more were washed away in a drain, and met the families of the victims. He announced compensation to the affected families and assured that the government will bear the cost of education of two young children who lost their father, Vasudeva Bhat, a priest. He also promised a job to Bhat’s wife Roopashree.
Vasudev’s uncle Srinivas Gopal said residents of the area had been asking officials to repair the drains for four years, but no action had been taken. At the house of Venkatappa and Kamalamma, who died after a wall collapsed on them on Friday, the CM promised `5 lakh compensation to the next of kin. He also assured the family of constructing a house.
Taking on the opposition parties who alleged that scams in BBMP works had led to such disasters, Siddaramaiah said the city had received the highest rainfall this year since 1983. “The civic authorities were not able to remove silt or repair roads as it was raining continuously. One should not indulge in politics over death.”
Prior to the CM’s visit, senior BJP leaders including former CM B S Yeddyurappa, Union Minister D V Sadananda Gowda, Former Deputy CM R Ashok visited these places. Former Deputy Mayor S Harish, who accompanied them, said `1 lakh was given by Yeddyurappa to victim’s family members on the spot. They also gave `25,000 to the family whose house was damaged due to rain. “BJP has made arrangement for food at Marappanapalya and Kurubarahalli,’’ Harish said.
Later in the day, JD(S) leaders too visited Kurubarahalli and met the families of the victims. “From JD(S) `1 lakh each was paid to the families of those who died,” MLC Saravana said.
NDRF’s 6-hour search for priest’s body
The body of temple priest Vasudeva Bhat, who was washed away in a drain on Friday night, was found on Saturday around 10.40 am, almost 2 km from where he had fallen into the drain. A total of 10 NDRF personnel were involved in the operation to locate Vasudeva’s body. According to NDRF Assistant Commandant Subheesh K S, who is part of the team stationed in the city, they were informed about the incident at 8.45 pm on Friday night. However, due to heavy traffic congestion on most main roads, they could reach the spot only around 11.30 pm and start the search operations. The search went on till 2 am after which it was stopped. It was resumed again at 7 am on Saturday. Speaking about the risk involved for the NDRF personnel, Subheesh said, “As the drain is built with concrete, there was a fear of suffocation within the drains, along with heavy water flow. At some places, NDRF personnel also faced problems due to obstacles in the narrow drain.”