Raining problems

The monsoons are here but Bangalore is not prepared for the rains. A light rain is enough to cause flooding of roads and traffic jams. Water-logging has been reported in several low-lying areas. Just a few centimetres of rain and the city goes under water.

Rains cause havoc every year. Yet, the government has done little to improve the City’s preparedness to cope with rain. Over the past fortnight, at least three people, one of them a 6-year-old child, have been washed away when they accidentally fell into open sewers and storm water drains in the City.

The government has announced a series of steps to improve the City’s preparedness. A task force has been set up to work out a monsoon management plan within a week. It will look into storm water drains, desilting of drains and identify areas in the City that are vulnerable to flooding and traffic congestion during rains. Work on the stormwater drain remodelling project is to be speeded up. And unauthorised buildings and other structures on stormwater drains are to be demolished. While the steps announced by the government are welcome, it is hard to dispel the feeling that they have come rather late. Still, as the saying goes it is better late than never.

Measures to prevent flooding are routinely announced amidst great fanfare by politicians and civic officials. There is little follow-up work. What is more, most of these measures are knee-jerk responses. The City needs a comprehensive plan to improve its preparedness to cope with rains. Can Bangalore’s new Commissioner come forward with such a plan?  Hundreds of crores of rupees have been spent on desilting drains. Why are drains then still blocked? Why is BBMP doing nothing about stopping dumping of garbage and construction debris into drains? Why is road-cutting for laying of cables and pipes being undertaken just as the rains begin? The BBMP needs to answer these questions and act against those responsible for the sorry state of affairs. Besides, it should provide the public with a monthly report on work done to improve the City’s infrastructure and more importantly, on what remains undone.

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