Residents of several low lying areas in the city dread the arrival of monsoon. The rains, for them, translate to sleepless nights spent flushing out water entering their homes and keeping constant vigil to ensure that their belongings are safe.

Ahead of the onset of monsoon, the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) routinely identifies flood-prone areas and takes up desilting of primary and secondary drains to mitigate inundation. However, the move taken up just a few days ahead of monsoon provides little or no relief to residents of these areas.

This year, the civic body has identified 37 ‘critical spots’ along the 842-km primary and secondary drain network in the city. It is said that desilting of these critical spots will allow free flow of rainwater, thereby reducing the chances of overflowing and flooding. However, the BBMP’s move seems to have come a little too late, as monsoon has already set in.

BBMP officials concede that desilting work in these critical spots had been taken up just around a fortnight ago. While management of the drains, including desilting, at 12 spots has been completed, it is in progress in a few spots while tenders have been floated for work in the remaining spots. The civic body has already sanctioned Rs. 8.3 crore for desilting in the critical spots.

Officials admit to some “technical difficulties” in completing the work. The lack of a work front along these drains poses a challenge. But the biggest challenge, according to them, is the encroachment of drains. Citing the Shivajinagar area as a case in point, officials state that the remodelling of the storm-water drain was holding up things.

“With area being congested, we are facing problems in transporting materials to the spot. Also, doubly challenging is the fact that we can work only during the night,” an official said.

With regard to the tertiary and road side drains, only around 70 per cent have been desilted. The desilting work of these drains are being monitored at the ward level.

The civic body also announced an action plan ahead of the arrival of the monsoon and officials are directed to take “preventive steps” in low-lying areas. Directions have been issued to officials to ensure that the control rooms are well equipped and ready to swing into action when it rains.

However, with desilting yet to be completed, it remains to be seen whether the BBMP’s action plan to prevent flooding will indeed work.

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