If the havoc caused by the recent high-intensity pre-monsoon showers are an indication of how the city’s infrastructure would stand against the monsoon rains, Bengalureans are bracing for the worse.
The civic body is working on issuing new tenders to desilt storm-water drains (SWDs) and do extensive roadworks only now, even as the monsoon is expected to set in early this year.
Chief Civic Commissioner Tushar Giri Nath said that during the recent city rounds, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, who also holds charge of the city, observed that most of the desilting of drains were happening in the lined drains and not in the non-lined drains, which has caused a lot of flooding due to heavy silting and backflow.
“The Chief Minister instructed us to immediately take up desilting of these non-lined drains. We have called for a short-term tender, which will be finalised in a week, and the work completed over the next one month. We have divided the work into several packages, and will start them simultaneously to ensure that the works are on track. In the ongoing works in the lined drains, we will speed up the work,” he said.
But the timing of the work has drawn the ire of civic activists. “What we don’t understand is as to why the civic body doesn’t learn from the previous monsoons and start preparing early? It is such a joke that the civic body is tendering desilting SWDs now, days ahead of the monsoon,” said D. S. Rajashekhar of Bengaluru Praja Vedike.
Over 10,000 potholes mapped
The recent rains also brought more misery to the city’s roads. The civic body recently mapped 10,282 potholes using the FixMyStreet app and have begun work on filling them. “We are already in the process of tackling 5,500 potholes, and we are confident of filling all the identified potholes in the next 10 days,” said Mr. Giri Nath. “We are working on a war footing to fill all the potholes in the city, using all modes and resources available, including Python,” he added.
Meanwhile, Bengaluru City Traffic Police have listed 59 spots across the city that regularly see waterlogging. “We asked the traffic police on the ground to geotag all locations that see flooding and cause traffic issues, based on which we have submitted the list to BBMP,” said Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) B.R. Ravikanthe Gowda.
B.S. Prahlad, Chief Engineer, Road Infrastructure, said the civic body had called tenders and Friday was the last day to submit bids to install vertical box sections at these points for the water to drain out of the roads. The work will be completed soon, he said.
The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike is also redoing the roads in 110 villages — 794.98 km dug up to lay utilities like underground drainage and water pipelines. “At a recent review meeting, the previous commissioner set a May-end deadline for the work. However, due to heavy rains, work has been going on at a very slow pace and it is unlikely that the works will be completed before the monsoon,” a senior civic official conceded, signalling that the 110 villages are going to spend this monsoon too with bad roads and ongoing civic works.
The BBMP has announced that it will take up re-asphalting of 392 km of roads across 208 roads that are in a bad condition at a cost of ₹600 crore. This work has not even begun on the ground yet, which also means commuters will probably have to put up with bad roads this monsoon too.