Snail's pace of drain work hurts residents

The Under Ground Drainage (UGD) lines being installed by the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) could offer relief, but they feel they are sacrificing too much due to the snail’s pace of the works, the poor post-installation work and the chaos that follows.

The drainage work is currently in progress in and around Mahadevapura, areas close to HAL such as Shastrinagar, Jagdeeshnagar and Annasandrapalya. The pipe-laying work is taken up, although not daily, between 8 am and 7 pm, and for a few hours after 11 pm.
In many areas, pipes are being laid on roads not wider than 13 feet. Several 600mm pipes are piled up on the main roads of Shastrinagar, taking up much space. Heavy-lift earthmovers, tractors, broken stormwater drain slabs and loads of slush.

This is the picture of roads that were asphalted a few weeks before the last BBMP elections. Residents fear that once the BWSSB’s private contractors lay the drainage pipelines and vacate the place, the slushy roads would remain unattended for months, or even years.

A resident, Anthony Simone, has been living in the area for more than two decades now. He, like all other residents and shop owners there, has nothing but complaints about the drainage work.

“Nothing is planned and there is absolutely no supervision by any senior officials. The work is done in segments and not completed at one stretch. During this period, we have to put up with the horrible road conditions, mostly blocked for any vehicular entry,” he laments.

Another resident P K Sudhish recalls the days when the area had no roads whatsoever. “It was after a long time that we had an asphalted road in the area. Now, the pipeline work has spoilt it. It is important for residents to sacrifice a little, but in the end, they have to bring the roads back to usable conditions,” feels Sudhish.

Once roads are dug up for pipelines, trenches are covered with the same mud. But workers do not bother to ensure that stormwater drains are not blocked. This negligence has left a trail of avoidable disruption in the normal flow of stormwater. While the BBMP has not undertaken any desilting work for months, dumping of mud into drains has created problems for residents.

Anthony says, “A few residents have ensured that main works cannot continue if the side works are forgotten.”

Residents also complain about the noise created at night because of the civil works. Site engineer Sivaiah agrees that work will cause problems to residents, but it is inevitable. “Some residents tell us to work in the early mornings while others want it at night. We have our own timings and we try the best to have a cordial relationship with the residents,” he says.

Sivaiah works for Ananthraja Construction, which was given the work by Ramky Constructions. Ramky was one of the contractors that won the tender from the BWSSB for the drainage works. Another contractor is handling works in and around K R Puram and Venkateshwara Tent Road.

Smooth affair in Uttarahalli:

Works are relatively smooth in Uttarahalli, Vasanthapura and Konanakunte Cross in Bangalore South Assembly constituency. Most of the wards under Bangalore South are among the 110 newly added villages of the BBMP and the BWSSB has not taken up any work there. Hence the BBMP is entrusted with the responsibility to look after all the civic issues, including water and sewerage, in the newly included villages.

A major problem in Uttarahalli ward used to be water and sanitation but ward corporator Ramesh Raju has brought about total change in most areas, particularly in Uttarahalli village. The BBMP authorities saw to it that the whole village has good underground sewage lines, concrete roads and drinking water connections. Since the BWSSB has not reached here, people are dependent mainly on groundwater. The corporator ensured that the BBMP sunk new borewells and gave water connection to each household.
Although the neighbouring Vasanthapura ward, with a sizeable number of slumss has problems galore, the developmental works are going on at a good pace. The BWSSB has taken up works in some areas like Udayanagar and surrounding places in the ward.

“The BWSSB officials are kind enough to get our works done at a rapid pace. Civic problems in the ward pertaining to the BWSSB are rectified quickly,” said Vasanthapura corporator A Vijaya.

However, the response of the BWSSB is quite lethargic in the nearby Yelchenahalli ward. Corporator O Manjunath has been struggling to get the works done.

The BWSSB has dug up some roads in the ward but forgot to fill it and asphalt it. “People in my ward are having a nightmarish experience due to the BWSSB’s apathetic attitude. The BWSSB authorities have dug up the road but forgotten to cover it properly and asphalt it.

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