Land-grabbers pose hurdles in survey of stormwater drains

The district authorities started surveying Bengaluru’s 750-km stormwater drain (SWD) network about three-and-a-half years ago. So far, they have surveyed just 410 km.

The rest of the work is yet to be taken up as surveyors fear a backlash from builders who have encroached upon many drains.

Officials in the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike’s (BBMP) stormwater drain division said the problem was with the 340-km SWDs, which had been encroached upon by some big-time builders. A source in the revenue department said surveyors and tahsildars were hesitant to go ahead with the survey fearing backlash from politicians as well as the public.

Palike engineers cleared encroachments in some of the SWDs but could do nothing in at least 25 cases in which the High Court has granted stay.

On Tuesday, officials took journalists to Bommanahalli and Rajarajeshwari Nagar to show them some of the model SWDs built by the BBMP. The officials claimed that the new SWDs had reduced flooding.

Concrete box-type drains have minimised flooding in Bommanahalli as they allow free flow of water in them. Although the SWDs are not meant to carry sewage, the BWSSB has given sewerage connection into the SWDs, making them perennial.

In Rajarajeshwari Nagar, the SWD division is remodelling 19 drains at an estimated cost of Rs 4 crore. Residents of Krishna Garden and Concorde Garden City are at peace, now that a 1.6-km long SWD from Uttarahalli to Srinivasapura was desilted.

Earlier, it was completely blocked, frequently flooding the two residential colonies during torrential rains.

Siddappa, a resident of Concorde Garden City, hailed the Palike engineers for helping clean the SWD. The Palike is also desilting the Vrishabhavathi river behind Global Valley and clearing it of encroachments. The engineers said flooding would come down after the desilting.

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