Land sharks reduce 60-foot feeder canal to 6-foot drain

Land sharks reduce 60-foot feeder canal to 6-foot drain

Fighting in the 1971 Indo-Pak war was far easier for Col (Retd) K Ramachandran than taking on Bengaluru’s land sharks who have reduced a 60-foot-wide rajakaluve (major feeder canal) to a six-foot-wide drain at Defence Enclave in Mariappanapalya behind the Manyata Tech Park.

Dumping of soil in the drain from Rachenahalli lake to the Defence Enclave is going on unabated despite several representations to and personal meetings with Agriculture Minister Krishna Byre Gowda, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) commissioner, the BBMP chief engineer (stormwater drain) and the BBMP’s joint commissioner of Yelahanka zone. Many multi-storey residential and commercial buildings are coming up close to the rajakaluve, according to residents.

Following the complaints, the minister, along with BBMP Joint Commissioner Sarfaraz Khan, visited the area but little has changed since.

Col Ramachandran said the recent spell of rain flooded the area. “The rain was not heavy compared with what it was two years ago. But the blockage caused flooding in the entire locality. We just don’t know what will happen during the monsoon,” said the retired Army officer. During the flash flood last year, people had to be transported in coracles to safer places, he said.

Sanjay P, whose house is located near the rajakaluve, said his house suffered damages during heavy rains last year. “There was about three feet of sewage in my house. Many of our belongings were damaged. Snakes and poisonous insects entered the homes. It took two weeks for water to subside,” he said.

Prashanth Singh, another resident, said he had sent e-mails to the chief minister’s office, minister Byre Gowda, the BBMP commissioner, the chairperson of the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) and the chief engineer of BBMP (stormwater drain) but there was hardly any response. “There is an absolute vacuum in the administration as no one addresses our plight,” said Prashanth Singh.

When contacted, BBMP Chief Engineer (SWD) Siddegowda said the drain was part of the stream that flowed from Thanisandra where the Palike had cleared encroachments and demolished 12 structures.

“On Tuesday, we will survey the area and remove encroachments on the drain. We have prepared an action plan to clear all encroachments on feeder canals in the city,” he said.

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