Fear of flooding forces Bengaluru techie to leave ₹1.08 crore villa and cough up rent in lakhs

Many residents living in flood-prone Sai Layout in Horamavu have also relocated to escape flooding

May 24, 2023 11:42 pm | Updated May 25, 2023 11:21 pm IST - Bengaluru

The Rainbow Drive Layout on Sarjapur Road in Bengaluru flooded during heavy rains in September 2022.

The Rainbow Drive Layout on Sarjapur Road in Bengaluru flooded during heavy rains in September 2022. | Photo Credit: K. MURALI KUMAR

A 43-year-old techie residing in his plush villa will be relocating to a nearby gated community as fear of flooding during monsoon looms large at the upscale Rainbow Drive Layout off Sarjapur Road. Karthik Krishnan has rented a house at Muthanallur cross on Sarjapur-Marathahalli road, to which he will be shifting his family on June 1 and will end up paying ₹1.2 lakh a month.

This is not an isolated instance of flood-driven displacement in the tech city. Many residents of Sri Sai Layout in Horamavu have also relocated to escape the deluge caused by the torrential rains.

Also Read | Data: In Bengaluru, flood woes are a recent phenomenon

September 2022 flooding

It may be recalled that the 25-year-old RBD Layout spread across about 35 acres faced the worst flooding in September 2022, forcing the residents to travel on boats for a few days to work. The residents also hired tractors to ferry children to schools.

However, after about eight months, the scenario has not changed despite Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) carrying out a few measures. The tussle between BBMP and the Residents Welfare Association (RWA) which has now entered the courts, has paused the works.

The flooded Sai Layout at Hennur after heavy rains in August 2022.

The flooded Sai Layout at Hennur after heavy rains in August 2022. | Photo Credit: SUDHAKARA JAIN

Also Read | Busy with elections, Bengaluru caught unprepared for onset of monsoon

Storm-water drain

Mr. Krishnan, who had bought the villa for ₹1.08 crore in 2010, has now rented another house for which he has to pay ₹1.2 lakh per month, including maintenance. While his house was partially flooded last year, a compound wall constructed by the RWA on the east side of the layout will increase the volume of the flood. He has now moved court against the RWA to raze the wall, which the BBMP has termed illegal. The BBMP, in February 2023, issued a notice to the RWA to raze the structure erected on a stormwater drain (SWD).

Mr. Krishnan told The Hindu, “To avert flooding, the BBMP has built a parallel drain on the entrance of the layout, while the SWD that starts from Halanayakanahalli lake is partially completed.” He rued that for no fault of his, he has to now incur an additional burden of ₹ 13 lakh as the rental agreement was signed for a standard period of 11 months. The new residence is located about 11 km from his layout. His two children also faced problems during the monsoon as they were unable to attend school properly. He is planning to come back after BBMP fully resolves flooding issues at the RBD which he hopes will happen before April 2024.

Basavaraj Kabade, Chief Engineer (SWD), BBMP, said the Halanayakanahalli SWD has to pass through the RBD to which the RWA has objected. Currently, the drain was constructed up to the mouth of the RBD layout. Another BBMP official said the RWA had moved the court, claiming that no houses are constructed on the drains inside the layout seeking protection, due to which BBMP had stopped work.

Flood-management work

In another part of the city, Neelufar Ahmad, a resident of Sai Layout, said nearly 30 families who were residing here on rent had left the place ahead of monsoon. As the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) and BBMP failed to complete flood-management work, inundation during heavy rains will continue. Ms. Ahmad says the residents here have to park their vehicles on the main road during the rains as houses will be inundated.

Mohammad Shah Jahan, who built a house at the layout about 23 years ago, has now left the place and rented another home near the Hennur bus stand. “I am paying ₹22,000 rent per month, and I visit my house at Sai Layout once a week for cleaning. The then Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai had promised to complete the work this April, but the deadline was not met. We don’t know how long we have to wait to come back to our houses.” he said.

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