Residents of Rainbow Drive Layout in Sarjapur hired a tractor to take their children to the main road, where school buses were waiting to pick them up, as the streets of the colony were flooded.

Kids being loaded into a tractor due to water logging.Screengrab/Twitter_Gautam
news Rains Friday, August 05, 2022 - 14:03

With Bengaluru seeing unprecedented heavy rainfall over the past few days, several low-lying areas in the city were inundated, affecting normal life. Rainbow Drive Layout in Bengaluru’s Sarjapur, was also affected in the downpour and as a result, the streets of the layout were flooded in knee-deep water. Tired of waiting for civic authorities to intervene, the residents arranged for a tractor to ferry them to school and office, as their vehicles were unable to move through inundated streets. The layout, which consists of more than 300 houses, was cut off from help for over 72 hours due to the inundation.

Visuals from earlier this week show parents loading their children onto a tractor as all other modes of transport were unavailable due to the rains. The tractor dropped off the children at the main road, where their respective school vehicles arrived to pick them up. One resident said that the water can be waist-deep for the children, and that there is a fear of snakes lying in the murky water.

On Thursday, August 4, the residents of Rainbow Drive Layout took out a ‘rasta roko’ at Sarjapur Road to alert authorities about the deplorable conditions of their layout. They highlighted how they had to send their children to school in tractors instead of their personal vehicles, and blamed authorities for negligence. KP Singh, a resident of the layout said, "Although the rains have stopped now, we are still struggling to drain out the water. The tractor has been in service since 7 am. The 3 feet deep water has only been reduced by a foot."

KV Trilok Chandra, BBMP special commissioner (Mahadevapura) told the Times Of India that the flooding was caused at Rainbow Drive Layout due to encroachment of stormwater drains. All lakes in Bengaluru are inter connected by a network of storm water drains that carry excess water from lakes in higher elevations to ones in lower elevations. However, according to KP Singh, the layout was built about 25 years ago and the builders did not encroach upon any lake. Because the Rainbow layout is located in a low-lying location, it is urgently necessary to find an alternative for stormwater drainage on Sarjapur Main Road or add another outlet," he told TNM, further alleging that it is the BBMP that allows encroachment.

Residents of Rainbow Drive Layout in Sarjapura, #Bengaluru send their kids to school in tractor. They were unable to get their vehicles out since the basement of their apartments was flooded.

— Gautam (@gautyou) August 4, 2022

He also alleged that a part of a road built by the BBMP, over a channel meant to drain out water from the lake, was not constructed properly, resulting in the flooding in Rainbow Drive Layout, "Junnasandra and Halanayakanahalli, two nearby villages, have their rainwater directed into Rainbow layout, where it empties to the stormwater drain (SWD) on the Sarjapur Road. The egress is incredibly slow and the water stagnates for hours, often overnight, because of the level differences between our drain and the SWD on Sarjapur Road. This leads to flooding and water entering houses at the entrance,"

Another resident explained that the flooding may also occur as a nearby lake has not been desilted for some years. Further, the lake’s capacity may have reduced as people regularly dump garbage there.

Back in May, the residents had written a letter to MLA Aravind Limbavali, informing him of the frequent flooding in their neighbourhood during rainy seasons. As a response, Tushar Guru Nath, the chief commissioner of the BBMP, had instructed the concerned authorities to desilt the drains and make sure that the outlets leading to the roads were clear so that the water does not remain stagnant on the streets.