Karnataka engineer cuts power to pumphouse, saves lives amid floods

He dashed to the spot and took the decision to switch off all the pumps.

Published: 14th September 2022 05:36 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th September 2022 05:36 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

BENGALURU:As the Bhima river water rose last weekend, a quick and crucial decision taken by an executive engineer and his team at Thoraikadanahalli (TK Halli) pumphouse in Mandya district may have saved a number of lives and equipment worth crores of rupees, for  the BWSSB.

B K Naresh was asleep in his official quarters on September 5, when he received a call at 4am from his colleague about the dangerously rising waters in the Bhima (a tributary of the Shimsha), and the flooded pumphouse. He dashed to the spot and took the decision to switch off all the pumps.

Naresh (40), Executive Engineer, Kavery, Operations & Maintenance, told The New Indian Express about the huge decision he had to make after taking stock of the situation. “My Assistant Executive Engineer KS Karthik and I decided the only way out was a complete shutdown,” he said.

BWSSB chief lauds saviour engineer

“It meant that much of Bengaluru’s water supply would get disrupted. I called up the Additional Chief Engineer and Chief Engineer and took their consent,” he added. Calls were later made to KPTCL officials to switch off power supply completely, and the Fire department was alerted to reach the spot for support.
Reliving the ordeal, Naresh, who spent most of his working life at TK Halli since joining BWSSB in 2011, said, “The readings that morning were showing high flood level in the Bhima, at 588.63 metres. The maximum level for safety is 585.95m. Our pumphouse, with mega pumps 23ft below ground level, was flooded and water had risen one foot above the ground. It was a frightening situation.”

The flooded TK Halli, Stage III
Pump House | Express

The crisis followed a power failure at Tataguni the previous night, which had forced them to shut down the pumps for 15 minutes around midnight, and restart them. There were 15 employees at the pumphouse, including electricians, helpers, fitters and welders at the time.  

BWSSB Chairman N Jayaram lauded Naresh and his team for their smart work.Jayaram, who camped at TK Halli till the situation was normalised, said, “A total of 270 staffers spent two sleepless nights to ensure Bengaluru got back water supply. We thought it would take us a week or 10 days, but it took 40 hours.”

Restoration involved tedious processes, including dewatering, clearing sludge, bringing spare parts and mega motors from other pumping stations in trailers to TK Halli, extricating the existing ones and replacing them, he explained.


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