Civic Issues
Year after year, Bengaluru comes to a standstill after rains. This year, BBMP has drawn out contingency plans ahead of the monsoons. But will they work?
Representation photo

Bengaluru comes to a standstill every time there is light to moderate rainfall and the civic body, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, is under fire after several roads across the city were inundated following rainfall earlier this week.

With the monsoon approaching, civic officials are under pressure to manage the situation better this time around. In order to ensure that the BBMP is not caught unawares, the Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC) has set up rain gauges at 10 locations in the city. This is meant to provide the BBMP information about rainfall once every 15 minutes so the officials can take precautions.

The Kadugodi underpass, which was inaugurated two weeks ago, flooded after Thursday’s rainfall and the waterlogging did not subside until Sunday morning. Similarly, severe waterlogging occurred along Old Madras Road, Outer Ring Road and several parts of Bommanahalli, Rajarajeshwari Nagar and northern parts of the city.

The mild showers also caused the Bellandur lake to froth again. The froth had reached the top of the metal fence and was flowing out on the streets early on Sunday morning.

“No one is taking action. Imaging how the situation will be when the monsoon sets in. The BDA has to take up the clean up work seriously,” said Sonali Singh, a resident of Bellandur.

According to BBMP Commissioner Manjunath Prasad, the Palike has set up sensors in 25 flood-prone storm water drains in order to measure inflow of water. “We will take necessary measures to avoid flooding this time around. We will have information from the rain gauges and the sensors. We want to avoid human casualties due to rains,” he added.

The BBMP is also setting up 63 control rooms in the city across various sub-divisions. The civic body will invite tenders for appointing staff at these control rooms who will be addressing complaints.

“We want to be able to send help as soon as we get in a complaint, without any delays. We will also increase the number of teams in the tree cell. Currently, we have 21 teams. This will be increased to 28, so the fallen trees can be cleared quickly and avoid traffic jams,” he said.

Speaking to TNM, Bettegowda, executive engineer of the Storm Water Drain Department said that 440 storm drains have been de-silted already and the remaining 386 will be de-silted before the monsoon kicks in.

“We have 156 people on standby for de-silting works and to attend to storm water-drain related issues. We also have two desilting machines on standby. We have also set up teams to monitor how much rainwater is flowing on to the roads,” he added.

BBMP Commissioner Manjunath Prasad said that pothole filling work will be carried out in a speedy manner to equip the roads to deal with rainwater. “We want to avoid pothole-related deaths this time,” he added.

The BBMP has been given a list of 180 vulnerable areas in the city which are prone to flooding. “The plans to avoid human casualties are being prepared and will be ready within a week’s time.

However, every year, the Palike comes up with flood-management plans that sound good on paper. With shoddy implementation, the situation has remained the same every year.

Last year, too, the civic body had set up temporary control rooms to help with rain-related complaint. Due to immense pressure from the public, it had also managed to fill potholes in most parts of the city.

However, shoddy work had resulted in the potholes opening up as soon as the rains began. With the BBMP failing the residents every year, the question is – will the civic body be able to effectively implement its plans?