Underpasses flooded again

As it began raining heavily on Thursday, motorists again began to worry about what would happen at the railway underbridges. 
Water-logging is a chronic problem there, and vehicles find it hard to navigate the roads. The underpasses, as they are popularly called, end up with traffic jams. Among the underpasses notorious for filling up are the ones in Hebbal, Cantonment and Cox Town.

 While some BBMP maintains some underpasses, the railway authorities take care of others.

BBMP Chief Engineer (Projects-Central) K T Nagaraj, attributes the water logging at underpasses to faulty design. “All underpasses must have lead drains that eventually connect to a stormwater drain. The lead drains come with gratings at regular intervals to help drain out the excess water,” he says.

He says the most recent underpass rectified by the BBMP is near Kino cinema. “The underpass at Le Meridien continues to get water-logged everytime it rains because of faulty design. The water is always pumped out from this space,” he says.

Underpasses maintained by the railway authorities have a yellow board, indicating the designation and mobile number of the official responsible for the upkeep.

“We tie up with an agency that helps pump out the water. We don’t have any permanent arrangement but use their services as and when we need it,” says R S Saxena, divisional railway manager, Bengaluru.

Saxena also points out that most underpasses in the city are located below the ground level. “The water pumped out is transported to a far-off place so that it doesn’t flow back. Pumping out is the only solution because sometimes mud and soil mixed in water also lead to clogging,” he adds.

Call BBMP

Report flooding at underpasses to the BBMP control room.
Call 080 2573 2447.

All clear, says BBMP chief

The BBMP has intervened whenever it has encountered chronic problems of water-logging at underpasses, according to BBMP Commissioner N Manjunath Prasad.

“Any water-logging must be brought to the notice of the BBMP control room.”

Why are things so bad?

Structures ignore topography.

Design by incompetent consultants.

The objective is to loot public money.

Reasons for water-logging, according to Dr T V Ramachandra, IISc.

‘Blame it on incompetent consultants, corrupt engineers’

Dr T V Ramachandra, associate faculty, Centre for infrastructure, Sustainable Transportation and Urban Planning, Indian Institute of Science, blames corruption for the miserable state of underpasses. Projects such as underpasses, elevated corridors and flyovers are created by incompetent consultants only to help decision-makers steal public money, he says.

"Water-logging is an indication of poor design, and of not considering the topography into consideration. It is not difficult to design a system that solves the woes of the public. Unfortunately, ad-hoc approaches leads to poor design,” says Dr Ramachandra.

When science and engineering principles are ignored, decision makers get optimal benefits, as evident from leaky underpasses, frothing lakes, and traffic constables manning traffic on flyovers, he says.

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