Horror in Hulimavu: Lake breaches, 800 houses flooded

A road which was flooded after the Hulimavu Lake breached. DH Photo/ S K Dinesh

Over 800 houses were flooded and properties worth crores of rupees damaged after the Hulimavu Lake in the southeastern part of the city breached, turning a laid-back Sunday into a nightmare for residents in the Arakere ward.

The breach occurred around 2.30 pm after the lake bund in the northern side gave away, allegedly after a BDA contractor took up pipe-laying work in the area without permission. In the next half an hour, nearby areas, including Krishna Layout, RR Layout, Avni-Sringeri Layout and Royal Residency and a stretch of Begur Road, were under more than three feet of water. On top of it, snakes were seen at several places.

A National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team reached the spot and rescue boats were taken to interior lanes to evacuate those stuck in low-lying areas.

Several apartment complexes and a hospital were flooded. Residents of buildings with basements had to leave their automobiles to the mercy of raging, stinking water.

Spread over 132 acres, Hulimavu Lake is one of the largest waterbodies in the city. The Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) sat on the development of the lake for years before handing over its responsibility to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) about three years ago.

Residents had no option but flee from their houses, leaving everything behind. Home appliances, documents and automobiles were either washed away or submerged. The force of the water was such that SUVs were swept away as the floods cleared off entire streets. A shed along Begur Road collapsed.

Corporator of Arakere Ward Bhagyalakshmi Murali said the breach was caused by a BDA contractor who had taken up work on the lake bund. “The contractor had taken up pipe-laying works on the bund without taking permission. He fled the spot soon after the breach. I have filed a complaint at Hulimavu Police Station,” she said.

BMRCL officials and contractors were among the first to respond. “Metro officials and their contractors working on the Bannerghatta Road rushed to the spot following our request. They dumped debris on the breached bund which offered some relief. Otherwise, the lake water would have marooned the area,” said Bhagyalakshmi.

BBMP Commissioner B H Anil Kumar said he heard from residents that a contractor was responsible for the breach. “We were told that he was trying to reduce the water level in the lake. We will find out the truth. The lake was handed over to us in 2016 and we have not started works yet. We have earmarked Rs 6 crore for lake development,” he said.

D Randeep, Zonal Commissioner for Bommanahalli, told DH that the houses can be restored after the flow of water stops.

“We have made accommodation and food arrangements for the residents at Hulimavu High School and at the indoor badminton stadium,” he said.

Though the water flow was largely stopped, BBMP officials said the complete restoration of the bund may take two days.

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