Vrishabhavathi wall collapse forces drain works' review

Vrishabhavathi wall collapse forces review of drain works

Did you spend Rs 800 cr correctly on SWDs? Govt asks BBMP after Vrishabhavathi wall collapse

Thursday’s downpour not only brought down the Vrishabhavathi retaining wall but also washed away a part of Mysuru Road. Credits: DH Photo

A day after heavy rainfall washed away a retaining wall along the Vrishabhavathi River on Mysuru Road, the Urban Development Department asked the BBMP to start an assessment of all SWD works in the city. 

Parts of southwestern Bengaluru received high amounts of rain on Thursday, washing away the stormwater drain abutting Vrishabhavathi River that roughly runs along Mysuru Road. A part of the national highway in Kengeri was also washed away. 

Rakesh Singh, Additional Chief Secretary of the Urban Development Department, wrote to BBMP Commissioner B H Anil Kumar, noting that the quality of work did not meet the “minimum expectations”. 

“Prima facie, it is felt that the implementation of the project has not been up to the mark. Since the SWDs are the only conduits to safely carry the stormwater, the minimum expectation is that the concrete/masonry structures designed to withstand the flood-level flows are not washed away under moderate discharge,” he noted. 

A source in the department said the timing of the incident averted a potential tragedy. “Since the incident happened in the early evening, a potential tragedy was averted. What if it had happened during the night when motorists venture to travel due to poor visibility?” the source said. 

Mayor M Goutham Kumar said the retaining wall in question was not part of the BBMP’s Rs 800-crore project to restore and strengthen the SWD network in 2016. “The retaining wall was built by the city municipal council, on which the national highway officials had built another wall. Water was diverted to the same channel by Namma Metro (BMRCL) officials. On top of this was heavy rain,” he explained. 

The urban development department has, however, asked the BBMP to begin an assessment of all SWD works. “It is requested to immediately form a team in (the) BBMP and make an assessment of all the major SWD works taken up recently. Needless to say, poor quality of work and negligence on the part of officers need to be suitably acted upon,” the reads the
letter. 

The assessment, the source said, is aimed at understanding the project, its scope and accountability of the money spent. “Rs 800 crore have been spent. The aim is to understand whether the money was spent correctly,” the source said. 

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