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Timely response to our complaints could have prevented floods: residents

Darshan Devaiah, DH News Service, Sep 10 2017, 1:52 IST
Incessant rains over the past few weeks have exposed the poor condition of the city’s storm water drains. Due to reduction in their carrying capacity, storm water has been spilling out, flooding roads and low-lying areas. DH spoke to residents of these areas to understand their plight.

The civic body, complains most residents, has failed to remove the silt from drains, which could have helped in the smooth flow of water. Bengaluru Development Minister K J George had recently announced that Rs 300 crore will be set aside for drain-related works under the Nagarothana scheme. But residents say the decision has come too late.

Krishna Murthy, a resident of ST Bed, where several houses were flooded in the recent rains, has this to say: “Authorities are not concerned about the poor state of SWDs, one of the prime reasons for the huge floods this year. Setting them right has been a long standing demand of ours since we have to face huge problems every year.”

The rains have been particularly heavy and destructive this year. Ramanayak, a resident of Koramangala 4th block says, “The flooding problem could have been minimised if the drains had been strengthened in time. Dirty water has been flooding our locality. BBMP is to be blamed.”

In the words of Maya Chandra, another redident of ST Bed Layout, “The storm water drain is rarely cleaned by BBMP. The side drains remain stagnant which leads to excessive blockage.”

The drains have not been attended to for a long time. They have turned breeding grounds for mosquitoes. The stench emanating from the stagnant water has become unbearable for us,” complains Kavitha, another resident from Koramangala.

Shivakumar from HSR Layout says the flooding is a man-made disaster. “The civic authorities could have avoided the floods if they had responded to our complaints before. Nearby villas have encroached the rajakulves and built the compound. This is why the floods have been particularly heavy in our area. The encroachments have to be cleared fast,” he says.

Many question the design of the SWDs. They are not scientific as there are a lot of issues with capacity, network and encroachment.

The primary drains (raja kaluve) must be cleared of encroachments first in order to ease the burden on the network, notes civic evangelist, V Ravichander. Secondary and tertiary drains can be taken up in due course. Unless the BBMP acts fast, the situation will worsen, he warns.

Encroachment of drains, he says, needs immediate redressal. The administration should target these structures first while continuing to build and develop the SWD network.

Koramangala resident, Anil Kumar points out that most of the drain encroachments in Koramangala are by builders, who later constructed gated communities.

Echoing this statement, Rajendra Babu, president of the ST Bed Residents Welfare Association, notes that the authorities have been deaf to widespread complaints about these encroachments and blockages in the SWDs.

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