Rains...and hell thereafter!

Rains...and hell thereafter!

Damaged reputation

Rains...and hell thereafter!

The last two days have been a sort of hell for the Bangaloreans. The evening rains have wreaked havoc on the roads and brought into the open the messy and infrastructural shortcomings of the City and its civic authorities. Most people took not less than two hours to reach their workplace, thanks to overflowing manholes and innumerable water-filled cesspools which have made it a nightmare for motorists.

 The traffic police were seen diverting traffic and making sure they cordon off the damaged stretches but there were no signs to indicate lurking dangers. Government agencies such as Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) were caught unawares as the rains exposed the shoddy works of these departments.

B Dayanand, additional commissioner of police (traffic), says that he had a tough time diverting traffic and clearing traffic blocks after the heavy downpour. “Parts of the roads caved in. We had to deal with overflowing manholes and fallen trees. We coordinated with the BBMP but a lot needs to be done to manage the growing volume of traffic in the City,” he explains. Dayanand further states that the major diversions had to be made around Kadugodi Main Road onto the service roads. Traffic moving from Adugodi Bande and Sagar Hospital had to be diverted towards Madivala.

“These are the two major diversions, besides the smaller diversions that had to be carried out,” he shares.

Lakshmi Narayana, commissioner of the BBMP, concedes that it will take a while before the City returns to normal. “Most of the low-lying areas are clogged. The pipes beneath the concrete stretch have broken and water is gushing out from below, damaging the roads. We are trying to using cobblestones to fill up the potholes and tar them,” says Lakshmi Narayana. He observes that the overflowing manholes and broken underground pipes have made it difficult to maintain the roads in good condition.

A senior official with the BWSSB says, “We’ve started desilting the manholes and relaying some of the underground pipes but we will not be able to do a proper job until it stops raining. We are also short-staffed.”

Despite tall claims by the agencies of work being done, the City is always in a mess after a heavy downpour and citizens confess that they have lost faith in the government.

Sonam Sahu, a programme manager, has to travel from Bangalore North to her office in RT Nagar everyday. “Travelling on potholed roads is an adventure of sorts. Each day tests the sturdiness of my bone structure and examines my navigational skills of reaching the destination, without falling into a crater. When it rains, the potholes are full and the pavements are virtually invisible. It’s chaotic on the roads,” she adds.

Kuldeep Singh Chauhan, another professional, thinks that every monsoon the potholes get filled and any attempt to refill these goes in vain. “My route to office is a backbreaking experience. The potholes are so deep and wide like craters that the chances of fatal accidents are high. The BBMP sometimes fills these potholes with gravel which is a temporary measure and is washed away in the next heavy downpour. The potholes get submerged underwater resulting in accidents. The BBMP should find a better way of strengthening the roads,” he signs off.