Bangalore fast tracks rain harvesting after Friday deluge

The just over one-month deadline the government has set itself follows the deluge that brought the IT hub to a virtual standstill Friday, when it was battered by over 110 mm of rain, around 80 mm of it within a few hours late Friday.

"The city received 240 mm rain in three days (Thursday to Saturday), a record in the last 40 years," Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa noted after a meeting with several ministers and senior officials late Sunday to decide on measures to tackle rain havoc in the city during the monsoon.

The meeting decided that all government buildings in the city should install rain harvesting system by May-end as monsoon hits the state in the first week of June. "All department will have to find finances for installing RWH systems," Law Minister Suresh Kumar told reporters after the meeting.

The government has already set Dec 31 deadline for all structures in Bangalore built on an area of 2,400 sq ft and above to install RWH or face water and sewage disconnection. The sewerage system has become so fragile in Bangalore that it takes more than half an hour for rain water to reach the main streams if rainfall is in excess of 50 mm in one hour.

Giving this information, the Bangalore city civic authorities said in advertisements in dailies that "public, especially children and aged must take care not to walk around next to the places where water pressure is high and alongside big water streams".

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) also appealed to people to stay away from trees and electric poles during heavy rains. The appeal followed death of two people late Saturday -- one when a portion of a wall collapsed on his car and another when he held on to an electric pole to save himself from falling.

A 38-year-old architect, B.D. Prakash, was crushed when a portion of a 60-year-old wall of the former central jail in the heart of the city collapsed on his parked car in which he was waiting for friends.

The second person who lost his life late Saturday has been identified as Avinash Tripathi, 28, of Lucknow. He had come to the city only two months back and was working in a home appliances firm.

Tripathi was electrocuted when he held on to an electric pole near the city market, in the central business district, as he slipped while walking in the rain, the civic officials said.

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