BBMP officials are looking to see whether choked drains are the reason for the flooding.

The dreaded underpasses of Bluru Will BBMP find solutions to check waterloggingFacebook/bbmp facts
news Civic Issues Sunday, June 10, 2018 - 13:10

Bengaluru, often known as the traffic city, has struggled with waterlogged underpasses during the monsoons. Although these structures were built to ease traffic, they end up adding to the problem when it rains. This year, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike woken up to the problem and has asked its zonal officers to conduct a survey and submit a report on the underpasses in the jurisdiction.

However, many see the move as only a band-aid solution.

For instance, take one of the city’s oldest underpasses situated near Anand Rao Circle. The height to which the water collects can submerge cars. It also begins to resemble a sewage-filled river.

This underpass, located on Subedar Chatram Road near the circle, does not allow any vehicle to pass when it rains. Similarly, the underpasses located in Sheshadripuram, Cauvery Theatre in North Bengaluru and the one near Cunningham Road leading up to Bellary Road all face similar problems.

Underpasses located near Whitefield, Outer Ring Road (Ramamurthy Nagar) and Okalipuram junction also get terribly waterlogged, with water stagnating till up to 6ft. Worse off, this occurs even with the slightest rainfall, says Ramprasad from Friends of Lakes.

Why do the underpasses get waterlogged?

According to Ramprasad, the biggest failure in planning these underpasses is that BBMP engineers do not study the contours of water flow while designing these stretches.

A senior BBMP engineer with the Road Widening Department confirmed the same, stating that the biggest problem was the lack of outlets for rainwater on these stretches.

“When these underpasses were built, the major problem was how to ease traffic. The engineers did not take into consideration the changes in land use pattern and study the flow of drainage lines or the water inflow calculations,” the engineer said.

“Whenever it rains, the water flows down the underpass and gets logged there because it is the lowest point on the terrain. Every underpass has two roads at its ends which slope upwards, and where the underpass road slopes downward. The water flow from the upper roads also flows into the underpass. Without an outlet for the rainwater, people get stranded,” Ramprasad says.

Has BBMP woken up to reality or is it an eyewash?

According to KT Nagaraj, the Chief Engineer of the BBMP Road Widening Department, the civic body has informed its zonal officers to conduct a survey and submit a report on the underpasses in their jurisdiction.

The Palike’s officials are looking to see whether choked drains are the reason for the flooding.

“What do they mean by choked drains? The drains are located above the underpass, by the sides of the two ends. There are no clogged drains to begin with, as there are no outlets for water. This is just an eyewash. What needs to be done is that pumps have to be fixed, either during the monsoon or permanently, which can pump out the water to the primary stormwater drains,” says Ramprasad.

Several civic activists also say that although the BBMP has taken up such remedial measures in the past, it was nothing but a band-aid solution.

“In 2014, Ramalinga Reddy, who was the Bengaluru district in-charge, had announced a Rs 1.25-crore project to install 1200 mm pipes near the underpass and divert it to the stormwater drain. What happened is that the drains were found to be above the level of the underpass. Instead of spending Rs 1.25 crore for laying pipes, they could have installed heavy duty pumps which would have costed them somewhere between Rs 25-30 lakh,” Ramprasad says.

Although the BBMP has not yet come up with a concrete plan to solve this problem yet, it remains to be seen whether the civic body will take temporary measures to prevent waterlogging this monsoon as well.

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