Wednesday’s heavy downpour was only a prelude to the monsoon, which brought the city to its knees in many localities. The misery that the people faced has raised questions over the preparedness of the civic agencies to tackle the rain woes.
A day after the chief minister gave a dressing down to the Palike officials for the poor condition of roads and inadequate rain preparedness, the BBMP came out with a press release detailing a slew of measures. It said it has set up control rooms, including 61 temporary ones in low-lying areas, deployed Prahari vehicles with sufficient number of men and machines and special teams of forest department to remove uprooted trees and fallen branches.
Yet, there was waterlogging at 35 prominent places on Thursday, including TenderSURE roads. Mahalakshmi Parthasarathi, secretary of the Citizens’ Action Forum, said the Palike has not learnt any lessons from the past. She said the Bannerghatta Road was chock-a-block due to flooding.
“There is no footpath all along the Bannerghatta Road, especially near the drain at Bilekahalli where an 8-year-old girl was washed away 2 years ago,” she said.
No task force
During the BJP regime, a task force comprising the then Home Minister R Ashoka and BWSSB Minister Katta Subramanya Naidu was formed exclusively for Bengaluru, which no longer exists.
A senior BBMP official said, “We now have a high-powered disaster management cell for across Karnataka.”
N Manohar Murthy, a member of the Lakshminagar Residents Welfare Association near Jalahalli, said the potholes are a perennial problem on Tumakuru Road. He recalled that last year his scooter skidded after he bumped on a pothole on the Tumakuru Road, near Jalahalli. “Since then, I developed a severe backbone problem,” he said.
A recent survey by the Palike located 203 areas prone to waterlogging, including 54 places on major roads.
BBMP chief engineer (major roads) K T Nagaraj said “There were incidents of water stagnation at Anil Kumble Circle and near the Command Hospital, where we laid high density polyethylene (HDPE) pipes and connected them with the stormwater drain near the Metro station. Similar work is in progress elsewhere.”
The major challenge, however, remains the flooding at the railway underbridge near Majestic. The BBMP is working with the Railways to ensure water is drained out from there fast.
Siddegowda, BBMP chief engineer (stormwater drains) said, “We had identified 159 locations prone to flooding. Due to our work at 39 places, no flooding took place on Thursday. We are taking up remodelling of drains at 70 more locations.”
Uprooting of trees is a common problem during showers in the city that has 5 lakh trees. The short-staffed Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike is finding it difficult to identify weak trees.