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Removed drain slabs expose the rot

Last Updated : 24 September 2022, 08:39 IST
Last Updated : 24 September 2022, 08:39 IST
Last Updated : 24 September 2022, 08:39 IST
Last Updated : 24 September 2022, 08:39 IST

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Spot visits by DH to many areas in the city revealed the infrastructure issues the civic bodies haven’t been able to address in the past 14 years. BWSSB’s sewage network that lies within drains also stood exposed.

The four-metre-wide drain outlet at the Chinnappanahalli lake narrowed down to one metre just within 15 metres. Then it went underground, with the approach road built on it. The shoulder drains that connect stormwater were choked with mud, crying for better maintenance. The building that housed Ragam Store stood broken. Right in front of it, in the middle of the debris stood two BESCOM transformers that supplied power to the area.

In Spice Garden Layout, a sugarcane juice vendor waited for customers as he tried hard to keep fruit flies away. Apartments close by had covered the drain to avoid the stench of sewage. The BBMP has now removed the slabs, exposing the sewage and cables that lay within, in the process also exposing citizens to health hazards. An approach road near BWSSB’s sewage treatment plant in Marathahalli was demolished, while the steel rods used remained exposed.

The demolition rubble fell into drains in many areas, and was left uncleared. Some of the apartments had hired labourers to clear the compound walls, supposedly to prevent excess damage by the BBMP’s excavators.

Peoplespeak

With elections around the corner, this encroachment clearance drive seems to be political expediency for the government to flaunt its 'tough action'. But such drives will affect ordinary residents much more than the big fish who have profited off these encroachments for years. They have legal resources at their disposal to secure stay orders on these demolition drives, unlike ordinary residents. Will the government bodies that gave approvals to these properties and collected taxes from them for years, and the corporates who had the knowledge of where they were building, be held accountable?

- Rakshith, Policy researcher

What were the authorities doing when these encroachments going on? There must have been a sanction plan for these constructions. BBMP has clear stormwater drainage maps and they can easily find out whether the new sanction plan is encroaching the drainage. It's legally not possible to demolish these buildings. The plausible solution for this is to take a topographical map, find an alternative route with similar slope for drainage and connect the existing drain line with that. Authorities should also involve the local communities in respective BBMP zones and take their input.

- Mukunda Namagondlu, Civic activist

The disruption caused to natural watershed with encroachment on wetlands of the lake system, encroachment of lakes themselves as well as the rajakaluves or storm water drainage system led to flooding of neighbourhoods and roadways. Dakshina Pinakini, a river that was dormant for years, started flowing again. But with its natural flow disrupted, what should have caused celebration in a city with drinking water shortage, instead gave a nightmare as it breached onto roads and farms downstream. In many areas sewage is released directly into SWDs violating norms and causing reduction in the carriage capacity of the SWD.

- Yashaswini Sharma, Architect and conservationist

Greed is the reason behind the drain encroachment in the city. The massive political will to restore fully the age-old water flow system (kaluves, raja kaluves, lakes, etc) is the only solution. A new focused authority to manage the natural water flow in the four major valleys (Vrishabhavati, Koramangala, Challaghatta and Hebbal) and the five minor valleys (Maratahalli, Arkavathy, Kethamaranahalli, Kathriguppe and Tavarekere) of Bengaluru, is required.

- Rajkumar Dugar, Founder, Citizens for Citizens

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Published 24 September 2022, 08:22 IST

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