Storm-water drains need remodelling on a priority basis

The recent rain was a reminder that the city's storm-water drain (SWD) network needs to be remodelled on a priority basis. The city has a primary and secondary storm-water drain network of around 850 km, whose carrying capacity is overwhelmed in rain in excess of 60 mm.

Encroachments, accumulation of silt, dumping of garbage and a other reasons lead to flooding in the city every time it rains heavily. Though the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has begun removing encroachments on drains, it faces a hurdle in taking up major drain repair, including silt removal, remodelling, and reconstruction due to lack of any “work front”.

The problems

BBMP Commissioner Siddaiah told The Hindu that lack of work front (approach to the area of work) was a challenge. “More than 95 per cent of the SWD network does not have any work front either in the form of service roads, corridors or some space on either side of the drain. In most places, the drains' retaining walls have been used by the citizens to construct either their homes or commercial buildings.”

He said it was high time the Government took a policy decision on creating work front for drains in the city. “Thousands of properties will have to be acquired to create the work front. The BBMP will need the State Government's support both in terms of forming a policy and also in acquiring the properties,” he said. He had apprised Chief Minister D.V. Sadananada Gowda on the issue. “Mr. Gowda, noting the seriousness of the issue, has said a meeting would be convened shortly with the Chief Secretary, senior officials of the Department of Urban Development and other civic agencies concerned to hammer out a possible permanent solution to the problem.”

Had these issues been addressed over the years, the city would not get routinely flooded. “Unfortunately, there was no vision and as a result, the drainage network is highly constrained with land availability being a major hurdle,” he said.

The BBMP is also looking at other options to prevent flooding, such as rejuvenation of lakes, massive sapling planting drives and a major thrust to rainwater harvesting.

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