Bengaluru

Racing against time: Drain widening work in HSR Layout far from complete

Residents remove rain water from a house at HSR Layout in October 2019.

Residents remove rain water from a house at HSR Layout in October 2019.  

Lockdown and labour crunch have hit projects in the flood-prone area

Flooding in the upmarket residential colony of HSR Layout is a recurring problem every monsoon. This year may be no different as the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has at least three ongoing drain projects, many not even half done, raising concerns of flooding during a heavy spell of rain. The delay in completion of work is attributed to the complete break for over two months during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The layout, developed by BDA on Yellukunte lake bed, is situated between Somsundara Palya and Agara lakes. It is prone to flooding with every heavy spell of rain.

In October 2019, after an episode of flooding, the BBMP had promised to widen and rebuild a drain between the two lakes and provide an alternative channel for the natural water flow between them as per the gradient, and not through the colony as it currently is.

“But not even 50% of the work is completed. Moreover, downstream where work to widen the drain is ongoing, there is a big bottleneck which is less than three feet wide, which should have been addressed by now. If it is not sorted out immediately, the entire Sector 3 will again be flooded from that point,” said Mohan R., a resident of Sector 3, HSR Layout.

According to Chandrashekhar H.E., president, HSR Layout Resident's Federation, while the lockdown did result in a delay, they also faced many hurdles including shifting of utility lines.

Pre-cast drains

The civic body has taken up rebuilding sewage drains in Sector 3 by using pre-cast drains to speed up the work, but that is also still far from completion.

“Residents are also to blame for the mess in the sewage drains along the road. Several residents had built small walls within the drain to block the flow of water and prevent flooding in front of their homes. These walls were demolished and new drains are being built,” explained Mr. Chandrashekhar.

Meanwhile, desilting of Storm Water Drain (SWD) near Silk Board Junction, identified as a bottleneck, is in progress.

Residents are worried and angry.

“Already we are reeling with several cases of COVID-19. If there is flooding, the situation will only become worse,” said Zahid Javali, a resident and editor of Residents Watch, a community portal for HSR Layout.

Labour crunch

Civic Commissioner B.H. Anil Kumar acknowledged the delay in civic works. “During the lockdown, all civic work had stopped. Our focus is still on fighting COVID-19. Now the work has restarted, but we face a labour crunch as many have gone back to their hometowns. We will take all necessary measures to speed up the work, but we are also helpless in the face of the pandemic,” he said.

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Printable version | Jul 9, 2020 7:59:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/racing-against-time-drain-widening-work-in-hsr-layout-far-from-complete/article31854157.ece

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