Incomplete SWD works leave citizens with a flood of worries

With just 45% of stormwater drain works completed in the city ahead of monsoon, residents in flood prone areas fear a repeat of the 2022 deluge

May 28, 2023 09:05 pm | Updated 09:05 pm IST

Just 45% of storm-water drain works in Bengaluru have been completed ahead of monsoon.

Just 45% of storm-water drain works in Bengaluru have been completed ahead of monsoon. | Photo Credit: BHAGYA PRAKASH K.


As the countdown to the monsoon has begun, and with the horrors of a city not prepared for the rains exposed during the pre-monsoon season already, residents in flood-prone areas fear a repeat of the 2022 deluge.

With just 45% of storm-water drain (SWD) works completed ahead of monsoon, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has not been able to expeditiously carry out remodelling and construction of new drains due to litigation, delay in payments to contractors, resistance from errant residents, and the Assembly polls. 

For instance, at Aeronautical Engineers’ Cooperative Society Layout (AECS) in Marathahalli, the civic body has halted building of a SWD after a property owner secured a stay from the court.

At Sri Sai Layout in Horamavu too, works are pending owing to the non-release of payment and in Rainbow Drive Layout (RBD), off Sarjapur road, the residents’ welfare association is reluctant to allow construction of a drain inside the gated community.

According to sources in the BBMP, the situation in over 100 places in the tech city is no different.

After rain wreaked havoc in September, 2022, the SWD wing of the civic body identified about 209 vulnerable places, where there was a need for remodelling or construction of new and parallel drains.

Basavaraj Kabade, Chief Engineer (SWD), BBMP, speaking to The Hindu said, “Of the 209 identified locations, we could resolve issues in little over 84 places. The BBMP is making all efforts to address the challenges.” He added that removing silt from existing drains, which is a routine affair, is being carried out promptly. 

However, sources in the BBMP say that silt removal is also pending in many flood-prone areas. The Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre has identified 226 flood-prone areas, of which some areas witness deluge with just 1 cm of rainfall. With SWD works delayed or poorly executed in some places, these areas would certainly flood again, sources added.

Indira B., a resident of AECS Layout, said the partially completed SWD here poses more threat. “As no one is currently maintaining the drain, sewage water is let into the same, even as some are dumping waste into it. If it rains heavily, the water accumulating in the drain has no place to flow, due to which rainwater may enter homes and apartment basements,” she said.

A resident from RBD said while the BBMP has completed a parallel drain on the outside of the layout, the SWD which was being constructed from the Halanayakanahalli lake was stopped by the residents’ welfare association. The drain was stopped near an empty site located east of the gated community. During rain, the water flowing through that drain will accumulate at the site thereby possibly flooding the RBD. According to the revenue map, the drain has to cut across RBD and meet the parallel drain. 

Anti-encroachment drive 

The BBMP, after a brief hiatus, resumed the anti-encroachment drive about three days ago. The data shared by the BBMP shows that so far, 2,167 encroachments have been removed since 2016. The total number of encroachments identified is 2,951. In 2023 till April, 88 encroachments were removed. The BBMP is yet to remove 784 illegal structures, mostly sitting on rajakaluves. 

A major impediment for razing is petitions in the court. About 118 encroachments are pending due to court-related matters. A BBMP official said the civic body is working hard to clear all encroachments, but work may stop on days when it rains heavily.

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