When heavy rains lashed Bengaluru last Thursday, it brought the city's traffic on Old Madras Road to a halt. For many, the logjam on the road foreshadowed what the city's residents experience during the monsoon when rains create havoc in the city.
This year, the city's civic officials held a meeting on Wednesday to assess the preparations for the upcoming monsoon season and take precautionary measures to tackle floods. The meeting was convened by Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara and was attended by BBMP, BWSSB, BESCOM and police officials in Vidhana Soudha. This is the first time such a meeting has been convened as early as April.
Parameshwara confirmed that 246 vulnerable areas in the city have been identified by analysing data from the last four years. These areas include low-lying areas and areas susceptible to water-logging. "We have studied and mapped storm-water drains and the process of desilting lakes is ongoing," he said speaking to reporters after the meeting. Out of 167 lakes in the city, desilting work will be done in 74 lakes, of which work in 18 has been completed.
BBMP Commissioner Manjunath Prasad, who was also present in the meeting, revealed that 1950 encroachments into storm-water drains have been identified in the city, of which only 450 have been removed. When questioned about the remaining 1500 encroachments, he said, "It is a continuous process and new encroachments are being identified."
He further added that storm-water drain sidewalls had been constructed in 440 km of roads in the city. "We are working to ensure the remaining 400 km is also covered," he said. No deadlines were mentioned for the ongoing works and it is not confirmed whether it will be completed before the monsoon begins in June.
Meanwhile, Parameshwara stated that 63 control rooms will be set up in the city for residents to lodge complaints. "Among the control rooms, there will be a central control room which will take calls from all areas in the city. BESCOM will have an emergency team on standby to attend to cases of electric poles falling down and other issues that might crop up," he said.
He also vowed that the state government will fill up potholes in the city. "The Cheif Engineer of each BBMP zone has been strictly informed about this. As you know, the High Court has given directions to the BBMP over the state of potholes in the city. The BBMP should not be told by the court to do its duty," he said.
Officials are also preparing for cases of dengue and have directed hospitals to be equipped with medical help necessary to tackle dengue cases. In 2017, more than 1400 cases of dengue were reported in the city. The number reduced to 250 in 2018 while 240 cases have been reported in 2019 so far. The issue particularly affected Mahadevapura area in the city.