Flood of woes due to encroachment

BBMP a big joke

Flood of woes due to encroachment

Despite coming under criticism for allowing encroachment of drains, causing severe flooding in low-lying areas, the civic body is yet to take a tough stand on clearing the illegal structures and ensuring smooth outflow of rain water.

According to officials, the BBMP has identified nearly 958 structures, being used for both residential and commercial purposes, that have almost completely chocked four major storm-water drains—Vrushabhavati, Hebbal, Challaghatta and Koramangala valleys (also called raja kaluves).

“Pulling down of the shortlisted 958 buildings can give immediate relief to people suffering from the problem of flooding,” official sources said. These structures were identified way back in 2007 when the BBMP was planning re-modelling and de-silting of storm-water drains under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).

Apart from these , the BBMP has identified nearly one lakh structures that have to be demolished either completely or partially for encroaching upon storm-water drains across the City.

In an action-taken report submitted to Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa on Saturday on drains encroachment, the BBMP said out of the 958 illegal buildings, 355 already had been cleared. But it did not specifically mention the locations where the demolitions had been done. The BBMP’s reluctance either to take action or to make clear the extent of work done is said to be due to the pressures from local political leaders who fear losing vote banks.

Another reason for the flooding is accumulation of massive quantities of silt in the drains. The civic body has been claiming that desilting work has been completed and that debris and municipal wastes were clogging the drains.

As per BBMP records, it has removed as much as 14.19 lakh cubic metre of silt at a cost of Rs 129.84 crore in the last four years. “If what the BBMP is claiming is true, Friday’s rain should not have caused water logging and floods anywhere, including in the low-lying areas,” officials noted.

Similarly, the BBMP has made tardy progress as far as the Rs 643-crore storm water drain re-modelling project is concerned. Launched in 2007, it has so far been able to complete only 40 per cent of the work. The Palike had already spent about Rs 372.24 crore.

The BBMP’s action-taken report has listed UGD and water supply pipes and electricity cables running in the storm-water drains as responsible for flooding during rain. Besides, the civic body has said 30 per cent of sewage water is discharged in the storm-water drains.

The city has been witnessing water logging on prominent roads due to non-availability of shoulder drains. There were missing links in drains on many roads, the BBMP said in the report.

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