Thousands homeless as floodwater fills homes

Doddabidarakallu Lake breached last night following heavy rains, at BWSSB Sewage Treatment Plant, 300 and more families affected, at Bhavaninagar and Thirumalapura, in Bengaluru on Thursday. (DH Photo/ B H Shivakumar)

Thousands of people in northern Bengaluru had neither shelter nor sleep on Wednesday night as Doddabidarakallu Lake breached following unusually heavy rainfall. 

The lake breach occurred at a point where the BWSSB is laying pipelines to draw sewage for a treatment plant, a senior BBMP engineer said. 

"As the lake was filled with untreated sewage, the BWSSB had laid a pipeline to draw sewage to the treatment plant. This loosened the bund. The breach happened at the same point," a senior official from the BBMP's lakes wing told DH

Water gushed into at least 400 houses in Annapoorneshwari Nagar, Bhavani Nagar, Andanappa Layout, Chennanayakanahalli and Rukmini Nagar Layout, whose inhabitants are mostly small shopkeepers and labourers. Had it not been for the residents themselves who quickly rushed out of their homes, many people might have been swept away by the floodwater. An unconfirmed report said that a child was washed away. 

The ordeal began around 11.30 pm as heavy rainfall started to pound the neighbourhood. The rainfall didn't stop for the next three hours. The lake breached around 1.30 am, marooning several localities downstream and submerging at least 100 vehicles. 

Mayor M Gowtham Kumar and BBMP Commissioner B H Anil Kumar visited the place where the lake breached and inspected the situation downstream. The BBMP has promised to rebuild the bund. 

Interestingly, the BBMP had recently overtaken the management of the lake from the Bangalore Development Authority and promised to rejuvenate it at a cost of Rs 10 crore. 

Jagannatha Rao, Deputy Conservator of Forests, Lake, BBMP, said they had started filling the bund with boulders and soil. "Boulders will strengthen the retaining bund. We'll restore it in a day or two," he told this newspaper. The water was diverted to a stormwater drain. 

The BBMP has promised to feed the affected residents for at least a week. Nagabhushan, an assistant engineer from ward number 40, said the floodwater would be cleared from homes soon. 

Following the flooding, the entire neighbourhood plunged into darkness. Volunteers and rescue workers had to use torch lights to pump the water out. 

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