The number of open drains and manholes in the City does not seem to be decreasing. While many have no signage next to them, those which have are just a weak attempt to warn citizens of the lurking danger.
Some citizens say that the open drains in front of their houses have made life difficult for them. They also fear that because of this, they may be prone to various diseases like dengue and malaria. “I have an open drain right in front of my house and there is no warning sign near it for pedestrians and motorists. I try and warn motorists who are passing by. Though months have gone by, no step has been taken to cover it,” notes Sunil, a resident of Ejipura.
Since some of these areas do not have streetlights, there is the risk of pedestrians and motorists falling into these manholes and open drains. The chances of a wheel getting stuck or a pedestrian falling into the drain increases after dark.
Many such open drains and manholes in the City can be seen marked with the branch of a tree. These signs are often put by local residents to warn motorists and pedestrians. They don’t serve the purpose and can hardly be noticed in the dark.
“Placing the branch of a tree with a red cloth is a common way to signify that there is an open manhole or a drain. Accidents are common during the monsoon and open drains and manholes add to the woes of the motorists. Many a time, the BWSSB workers clean the drains and leave these open, without any warning boards, till the citizens make a huge hue and cry about it and put leaves or branches to alert people.
It is necessary to put up a visible board near the drains and manholes, where BWSSB workers are working, so that there is no confusion,” says Abbe, a student.
People also point out that some of the slabs that cover stormwater drains in areas like Indiranagar, Cantonment, Koramangala, Adugodi, Vasanthnagar etc have gone missing. Some have been placed rather precariously. “These slabs start breaking after a while and the authorities should either replace them with new slabs or make other arrangements as they are dangerous for not only adults but kids as well,” informs Savan, a student.
The BWSSB officials say that in many cases, citizens are also at fault, as the lid
of the manholes can be easily taken off and some people dump their solid waste in these. “We cannot guard each and every manhole. If we are notified about a particular drain or manhole which has been damaged, we immediately attend to the problem.
Many restaurants and small hotels throw their solid waste like bones etc into these manholes and it is a real challenge for us to clean these. Many a time, when the streets are waterlogged, the citizens open the lids of the drains and manholes to clear the roads. Our maintenance work and de-silting of drains and manholes is going on. If we are informed about any problem by the public, we will try and attend to them,” says TC Sarala Kumari, the PRO of the BWSSB.