After that mother of all rain, which caused mayhem in the city last week, TV grabs of inundated roads and houses in certain areas were played in a loop for hours on end. However, the “other Bangalore” was left to tend to its injuries by itself.
In the latter category are the over 300 shacks lining the narrow streets of Devara Jeevanahalli (D.J. Halli) where the residents had to deal with the nightmare of having sewage water enter their homes. With no sanitary system in place, the clusters of homes in the slums near Modi Garden have become breeding grounds for diseases such as chikungunya and A (H1N1) over the years.
As usual, it is untold misery for those living in low-lying areas. As there is no storm-water drain in the vicinity, a heavy downpour channels malodorous sewage water from drains of surrounding areas right into homes, forcing families to find alternative accommodation for the day.
The day after is one of sheer drudgery, baling out stinking water and scrubbing homes of the fetid residue it leaves. This leads to another situation: stagnant pools of the baled out water on the road in front of their homes.
Sitting outside his home in Tipu Mohalla, Syed Khaleel watches children jump in and out of open drains trying to retrieve their toys. “Children get fever and other diseases often here. Mosquitoes and rats are commonly sighted. In the past three years, we have seen no development in this area,” says Mr. Khaleel, who has been living in the slum for 25 years. Not very far from here, Shakira of Roshan Mohalla says her four children fall ill regularly due to the befouled environment. “When the situation goes out of hand, we the residents get to work and clean up as much as we can,” she says, pointing out the clogged drains. Drinking water too is a rare commodity as it comes out of taps contaminated with sewage water.
The impact of the collapse of the sanitary system in the area has been so adverse that 20 houses built on the bed of what was once a tank (according to a local, the locality was called Tank Mohalla) collapsed as the sewage water weakened the structures.
While workers of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) occasionally turn up to spray, residents want a permanent solution. Last week, D.J. Halli Councillor R. Sampat Raj came with BBMP engineers to draw up a plan for a storm-water drain to cover Modi Road, Doddananagar Layout and Dr. Ambedkar Medical College, for which Rs. 4 crore has been sanctioned.
“This slum has hardly seen any development. The BBMP installed streetlights only recently. The Karnataka Slum Clearance Board too has promised rehabilitation in a month or two,” the councillor said.