Rains, floods & anger against apathy — the same story again

As water continued to inundate homes, anger against the civic administration mounted. The distressing pattern of inundation, overflowing storm-water drains (SWD), and flooded roads that accompany almost every spell of rain played out again in the city on Saturday following incessant rainfall.

At Varthur Kodi, for instance, residents reported nearly 3 ft of water, while at Veerasandra Junction of Electronics City, water gushed out of a SWD under construction and inundated the road. As residents continued to pick up the pieces, clean their homes, and battle new inundation, the anger against official apathy was apparent. At an apartment off Bannerghatta Road, nearly 32 households spent the Saturday not just pumping out water from their basement but also engaging workers to clean nearby drains — a job meant to be done by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). “For the past two years, the rajakaluve here has been under construction ... its width chokes at a complex of villas nearby. As a result, water overflows and inundates our flat. Since 2015, we have been complaining to everybody — from the local engineer to even sending letters to the Chief Engineers. But, nothing has happened,” said Nikhil V., a resident of the apartment.

In Koramangala

For residents of Koramangala 4th Block, the nightmare of August 15 — when their area was overwhelmed by flowing sewage— seemed to repeat on Saturday. Friday night’s rain had seen fresh inundation. While the water was cleared out, a fresh spell of rain on Saturday saw houses getting flooded again. They confronted BBMP officials, who had come to supervise cleaning operations on Saturday, and demanded to know when the situation would be rectified. While they managed to get the water cleared out on Saturday morning, the evening’s rain led to houses being flooded again. “They had no solution and were instead asking us for possible solutions. All these years some roads would get flooded, but this time it’s completely sewage,” said J. Ramesh Reddy, a resident of Koramangala 4th Block. A similar sense of anger was seen during Mayor G. Padmavathi’s a tour of inundated areas— who faced a torrent of complaints and grievances.

BBMP Chief Engineer (SWD) Bettegowda said the BBMP had found the cause of water entering buildings in Koramangala 4th Block. “Residents thought backwater from SWD was to be blamed. We found rainwater from other areas was pooling into 4th Block. We have decided to divert the water to other areas using culverts and increasing the width of the drain.”

Fourth time this year

For the fourth time this monsoon, Anugraha Layout (adjacent to Madiwala lake) has been inundated. Nearly 20 households were flooded as storm-water drains overflowed after the rain on Friday and Saturday. “The SWD from Bikelahalli gets blocked at Madiwala lake. We have complained against the Forest Department to allow the water to flow into the lake, but nothing has happened. In a bid to save the lake, our property is getting damaged,” said S. Sethumadhava, a resident in the area who estimates his loss to be around ₹1.2 lakh.

However, the Forest Department is clear that the bunds cannot be changed to allow sewage-filled water to enter the lake. “The only way this can be dealt with is if the capacity of the drains, which take sharp turns and is narrow at points, is widened, and if the capacity of upstream lakes is increased,” an official said.

On Saturday, the embankment of Begur lake on the outskirts of the city breached and water gushed out from the lake into neighbouring homes and roads.

According to BBMP officials who visited the lake, Begur lake received a large amount of water from around four lakes in the vicinity.

The flow ended up breaching the bund, causing inundation of Vishwapriya Layout (over 500 houses) and Mico Layout (350 houses).

Officials of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike said work on strengthening the bund and SWDs was under way and will be expedited.

With heavy rains seeing water level rise, many residents fear a similar inundation near Madiwala, Somasundarapalya and even overflow of froth from Bellandur lake. On the positive side, the incessant rains over the past weeks is aiding in restoring the Agara lake back to its aesthetic prime.

In the summer, the lake had been dredged, its bed laid bare, and chambers made for bio-remediation as part of the Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Authority’s ₹16-crore rejuvenation project.

“Two bio-remediation chambers are full and water is overflowing from the weir into the lake. There is 2 feet of water already,” said Seema Garg, Chief Executive Officer of the Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Authority.

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Printable version | Oct 21, 2021 6:07:50 PM |

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