The scene was depressingly familiar for Sameena. Reaching home after work, she found that the roof of her tin shack had been blown away in the rain that lashed the city that evening. Her house is among 40-odd humble dwellings that routinely go through this trauma every monsoon.
Sameena lives in the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) quarters for the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) in Ejipura. Such was the ferocity of the winds that the ceiling fans attached to the tin roofs were blown away too. The central row is the worst hit.
Pausing from the drudgery of drying her family's soaked clothes, she told this reporter: “I was in my shop when my children came running to tell me that our roof had blown away. It was a nightmare. We watched as our house almost got submerged. Our TV is damaged, our clothes are wet,” she said. Her husband and two children were busy helping her clear the mess.
S. Vijay N., the councillor of Vannarpet ward under which the colony falls, Neelasandra councillor Lokesh and MLA N.A. Harris visited the area the next day. The residents there have been pressing for a long-term solution, but their elected representatives merely provided one-time relief. People say they were given a day's food, the roofs were nailed back into place while some received Rs. 2,000 in lieu of repairs. And that was it.
Ammu, a resident, was angry. “They came regularly to ask for votes. Is this all?”
A painful existence
The rain has compounded problems here. Amreen narrates how her toddler daughter fell into the uncovered drain and hurt herself. “I was terrified when I saw her fall. Can't they at least get these covered?” she asked.
Adding to their misery, said Subbayya, is the stench from the open drains and the clouds of mosquitoes they breed.
Most of those who live here have no choice. As John Manohar from Davangere, who works as a security guard in Indiranagar, puts it, this is the only housing he can afford. “My son is going to college now. How will I manage if I have to spend on a better house?” he said.