In a puddle of sewage

In a puddle of sewage

It’s paraded as the high-end ‘food street’ of Bangalore, given the huge number of hotels and eateries on it — 70 to be precise. But Church Street, to say the least, is downright filthy.

   The road is pockmarked with puddles of stagnant sewage water. Broken
pavements, overflowing manholes, drains clogged with the  refuse from eateries and cesspools swarming with mosquitoes greet any pedestrian on Church Street.

   Metrolife interacts with people who visit Church Street, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) officials to understand why Church Street is in such a pathetic state. 

Gaurav Gupta, chairman, BWSSB, says that he is aware of the sanitary issues on Church Street and adds that the entire system of sanitary lines and underground pipes, which were laid nearly 40 years ago, have to he replaced. “Tenders for rehabilitation and replacement of sanitary lines and underground pipes on Church Street were called two years ago. For work to progress, the road has to be closed for a temporary period of time.

However, there is no cooperation from the Bangalore traffic police and the BBMP in this regard,” explains Gaurav. He adds, “The new government has included Church Street and
11 other roads in the City under the comprehensive development plan, according to which it will be taken up on priority basis.”

Engineer-in-chief of the BWSSB, T Venkataraju, claims that the BWSSB undertakes regular cleaning of clogged manholes on Church Street.

   “The underground pipeline on Church Street has only 175 mm pipes that are almost 40 years old and beg for urgent replacement. We have proposed a 300 mm pipeline on the left and right sides of the road. Tenders have been called for the same,” he states.
Additional commissioner of police (traffic and law and order), M A Saleem, says that he has never been approached for any problem on Church Street.

   “We are open to cooperating with the government bodies to solve any problems on Church Street. It is not difficult to temporarily close the road and create an alternative route,” he says.

The officials with the BBMP blame the broken pavements and bad condition of Church Street on budgetary constraints and lack of coordination among departments. When asked about the poor state of the road, a senior official with the BBMP reasons, “The drainage system on Church Street is quite old. We have warned the restaurant owners on the street to dispose of garbage efficiently but some people continue to dump it on the roadside and in drains. Is it possible for us to keep guard and make sure people don’t dump garbage?”

The stagnant sewage water on Church Street poses a few health risks as well. Chief Health Officer of the BBMP, Nagaraj S B, points out, “If sewage water mixes with
the ordinary water, cases of jaundice and gastroenteritis are bound to increase, considering that there are so many restaurants around. However, the spread of dengue is doubtful because the aedes mosquito that spreads dengue does not breed in sewage water, but only in fresh water.”

People who frequent Church Street as well as those who run business establishments on it say they are tired of seeing the road in terrible shape all the time. Nasar, who runs a small shop on Church Street, says, “I am losing my costumers because people don’t come this side thanks to the stench.”

 Irfan Noor, another businessman, who has been running his store on Church Street for the last 33 years, adds, “We have complained to the BBMP but nobody seems to bother. Garbage is also being dumped in these drains.”

Rashmi Deepak, a lawyer, feels, “The state of the roads and the sight of stagnant sewage water is sure to drive anybody away. It’s terrible.”

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