Arakere flooded with miseries

Palike blames BDA, BWSSB for water overflowing from lake

Arakere flooded with miseries

When Saraswathi opened her eyes in the middle of the night, there was water all around her. It was up till the cot, soaking the mattress. She is medium built; sixty years old.

The water reached her neck when she tried to get down. It was cold. She sat atop her bed amidst the flood, waiting for the water to recede. In the next room was Saraswathi’s sister, a cancer patient. Her husband Muralikrishna (66) tried to get the situation under control.

At 5 am, they were forced to shift her sister out of the flooded house. They persuaded a hesitant auto driver to ferry the cancer patient out of the place to a relative’s house. By then, the sanitation pipes broke, the motor stopped working. Stench invaded the house. The toilet overflowed into the living room and kitchen. All hell broke loose.

 A day after water overflowed from the waste weir of the Arakere lake, the nightmare has not ended for the residents. The residence of Saraswathi and Muralikrishna, an elderly couple residing near the water tank in Shantinikethan Layout near Arakere, was one of the houses that was flooded on Tuesday night.

On Thursday afternoon, the couple was still clearing water accumulated in their house. Refrigerator, washing machine, speakers, mattresses, cot, cupboard, the money stored inside- everything was rendered useless due to flooding. The couple estimate the losses around Rs two lakh.

Annual event

For Arakere residents, this has become an annual event. Last October too, the area was flooded. When the lake bund breaches, water overflows into the drain and, as the surrounding localities are in a low lying area, a stretch of nearly three kms gets flooded. Residents alleged that a lot of organic and inorganic waste including chemicals are dumped into the lake by neighbouring factories resulting in unbearable stench. Repairs taken last year did not last long.

On Thursday morning, Bangalore Urban district incharge minister Ramalinga Reddy visited the locality. Work to clear the water log has started. “But this is not going to last long. Basically, there is not place for the water to flow out of the locality as the storm water drain (SWD) stops at the end of the road,” one of the residents told Deccan Herald.

Blame game

Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) commissioner M Lakshminarayana said he would send a team to identify the actual cause of the flooding, to prevent such incidents.

 The excess water should have flown through the SWD which is adjacent to the waste-weir. However, the faulty design of the SWD concrete wall prevented the flow of excess water through it.

It flowed through the weak passage in the waste-weir, flooding the entire area. Senior engineers in the BBMP, Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) and the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) accused the SWD division of the BBMP for colluding with the land grabbers and reducing the width of the SWD on the downstream of the Arakere lake from 30 feet to 5 feet.

A senior Palike engineer said the major SWDs are basically natural drains. Due to their huge width they got the name of Raja Kaluve, which means major canals. Such drains should not be less than 30 feet. In some places they are almost 100 ft wide.
Lakshminarayana said he would get the drain surveyed.

He, however, pointed out that there were issues related to the BWSSB and the BDA. While the BWSSB failed to check the inflow of sewage into the lake, the BDA could not improve the lake and its waste-weir, which led to the flooding.

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