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Bengaluru's monsoon prep falls short: Only 10 out of 100 proposed lakes get sluice gates in two years

Experts working in the domain opined that the BBMP needs to take flood mitigation seriously and install sluice gates in at least 30 to 40 lakes that could act as flood mitigation points.
Last Updated : 11 April 2024, 20:23 IST
Last Updated : 11 April 2024, 20:23 IST

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After over 100 lakes in the city overflowed causing havoc during the 2022 monsoons, the state government and the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) were quick to announce a slew of measures, including a project to install sluice gates at all the 100 lakes.

However, two years later, there has been hardly any progress and sources in BBMP said that only close to 10 lakes in the city were installed a sluice gate as against the initial proposal to install 100 sluice gates. 

While the failure to take the project seriously did not have a great impact in 2023, owing to the poor rains, this might not be the case in the monsoon months of 2024 since the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted a good monsoon across the state. 

Experts working in the domain opined that the BBMP needs to take flood mitigation seriously and install sluice gates in at least 30 to 40 lakes that could act as flood mitigation points.

“If not all the lakes in the city, the BBMP should at least identify lakes that could act as flood mitigation zones and install sluice gates there. According to my analysis of the city’s topology and hydrogeology, there are at least 35 to 40 lakes that could act as flood mitigation zones and it is important that sluice gates be installed there,” said Ramprasad V from the Friends of Lakes.

For instance, at Seegehalli Lake where just half an hour of rainfall had resulted in flooding of surrounding areas, the BBMP is yet to install a sluice gate. Now, after numerous complaints and follow-ups by the volunteers, the BBMP officials have only cleaned up the inlets to the lakes. 

“The inlets were filled with sludge and we have been requesting the BBMP to clean the inlets for four years now. Finally, this year, due to the pressure from volunteers, they have cleaned it. However, in other lakes, these cleaning works have also not been taken up,” explained Balaji Raghotham Bali, lake activist involved in voluntary work at close to 16 lakes around KR Puram. 

Many other volunteers working across the lakes said that there has hardly been any pre-monsoon cleaning activities at the inlets and diversion channels. This, they warned could be dangerous given the flooding history Bengaluru has.  

While senior BBMP officials from the Lakes department claimed that cleaning of inlets was being taken up under the maintenance contract, volunteers refuted the claims saying that most of the contractors only clean the walking area and do nothing else. 

Sources in BBMP said that the Lake wing of the civic body was short of funds and earmarking funds for sluice gates was not the priority. The BBMP budget presented in March also earmarked only Rs 30 crore for lakes, which the activists said was a meager amount given the number of lakes in the city.

“We did submit a proposal to the government to install sluice gates at close to 100 lakes in the city. The project was supposed to be taken up under the state government funds. However, the approval did not come through. Now, we are trying to install sluice gates wherever possible with the funds we have,” a senior BBMP official explained.

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Published 11 April 2024, 20:23 IST

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