Chitra V. Ramani
Perhaps the most horrific deaths in the city were of those who lost their lives in storm water drains.
Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde says:
“This year, the city was witness to at least three persons, including two children, being washed away in the storm water drains. In May, 60-year-old Venkateshwarulu, blinded by heavy rain, rode his scooter into an open drain. Barely five days later, six-year-old Abhishek met a watery grave while in September, 18-month-old Vijay was washed away in an open drain.
“The Lokayukta has not been able to take up the matter as we don’t have the suo motu powers. Also, there is no complaint before us regarding badly maintained storm water drains.
“In what can be termed as a knee-jerk reaction, the storm water drains came into focus again and the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has now begun work on removing encroachments on them. It is common knowledge that large tracts of government property, including storm water drains, have been encroached.
“Though the civic body has begun demolishing encroachments, we do not know how long these corrective measures will be sustained. These encroachments could not have happened without the connivance of the BBMP officials. It is imperative that we first identify those who allowed such encroachments. Stringent action should be initiated against such officials.”