Despite much plainspeaking and posturings, it took a torrent to finally trigger the government into some positive and affirmative action.
The government, on Friday, released a big ticket Rs 50 crore to clear the City’s storm water drains of its encroachments forthwith, besides commissioning a study of low-lying areas and the civic body’s preparedness in tackling rain related exigences.
The release of necessary funds followed a high level meeting Chief Minister Siddaramaiah held to take stock of contingency plans in place in the event of heavy rainfall similar to one on Thursday.
Briefing reporters, Siddaramaiah said a special task force led by Additional Chief Secretary of Urban Development Department was being set up.
The task force will comprise of Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike, Bangalore Development Authority, Bangalore police, Bangalore Electricity Supply Company, Bangalore Metropolitan Region Development Authority (BMRDA), chief of Karnataka Fire and Emergency Services and Deputy Commissioner of Bangalore Urban District.
Thursday night’s record rainfall of 132 mm Siddaramaiah said, broke the 26 year record of rain on a single day in September.
Besides many areas being marooned, 28 trees were uprooted, 20 electric polls giving way, and 127 houses being damaged, of which two collapsed.
“The total loss incurred due to rains was pegged between Rs 60 crore to Rs 70 crore,” Siddaramaiah said.
He acknowledged the hardship faced by BBMP officials in attending to all public grievances.
Asked about the task force’s tenure, Siddaramaiah said “The new task force that will come up will exist for next monsoon as well.”
As Palike's finances are in mess due to poor revenue collection, he said a review meeting will be held next month.
Meanwhile, BBMP Mayor Shanthakumari directed Commissioner M Lakshminarayana to send back in-charge executive engineer (Gandhinagar sub-division) Hemanth Kumar to the parent department for dereliction of duty.
She found that Kumar was not present at Anand Rao Circle on Thursday when nearly 50 people were rescued from a drowning bus. Mayor and District in-Charge Minister Ramalinga Reddy took a tour of the City.
Reddy said the government is likely to release Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 as compensation to 1,500 residents of Vinayak Nagar whose houses were flooded. He also visited the flooded Gali Anjaneya Temple on Mysore Road.