Ready for rain? Not really...
Rain and floods go hand in hand in the city. For decades, some areas are bearing the brunt of the downpour and the backlash. While authorities unveil projects costing crores of rupees to check flooding, there is no end to woes. What ails these low-lying areas? R Jayaprakash, S Nandagopal and Prathima Nandakumar give an insight
At least 196 areas have been identified as ‘sensitive’. Some are Vasantnagar Dhobi Ghat, some roads in Koramangala, JP Nagar V Phase, Murugeshpalya, Malleshpalya, areas behind Kamakhya Theatre, Padmanabhanagar, Ejipura, Banashankari II and II Phase, Channammanakere, Rajajinagar II Block, Bhuvaneshwarinagar, Malleswaram 18th Cross, MG Road (near Oberoi), Old Byappanahalli, Kodandarampura, Cholanayakanahalli, Chamarajpet, Nayandanahalli and Venkateshpura slum.
ZONE-WISE SENSITIVE SPOTS East Zone - 44 West Zone - 22 South Zone - 41 RR Nagar - 25 Bommanahalli - 30 Mahadevapura - 5 Byatarayanapura - 15 Dasarahalli - 14 STORMWATER DRAIN NETWORK Primary drains - 94 km Secondary drain - 134 km Total - 228 km
REMODELLING WORK AND COST Total cost of remodelling - Rs 450 crore Vrishabhavathi Valley - 88.44 km. Challaghatta Valley - 31.6 km. Koramangala Valley - 56.2 km. Hebbal Valley - 51.76 km. Deadline - December 2007
This is where 9-year-old Gopi was washed away in April and the incident prompted CM Kumaraswamy to address the rain-affected residents. It is more than a month and things have not moved an inch. The problem in the area is encroached drains, absence of retaining walls and silt. The BBMP has demolished parts of buildings coming on the drain but have left out ‘select’ cases. Construction of retaining walls is a distant reality.
Areas around this killer drain: Kamakhya Main Road, Dena Bank Colony and Chikkalasandra. While officials who had come with the CM promised action within 15 days but nothing has been done.
“When the CM visited our area, we thought our worries were over but the latest downpour threw up everything. Rainwater completely covered the drain and fortunately, no life was lost. Engineers came soon after the CM’s visit with machinery and men. We see earth movers and pumps in the area but work is very slow.’’
Venkataraghav | SOFTWARE PROFESSIONAL, EDS TECHNOLOGIES
JP NAGAR V PHASE
AVVIP area with high-profile residents that include film stars, politicians, bureaucrats, the rich and the mighty. Even the CM has a house here. But the area has open and incapacitated drains, overflowing manholes and slushy roads. An hour’s downpour and it’s a deluge. Sewage-mixed rainwater entering houses and apartment complexes are common during rain.
“We have lost hope. This is absolute lethargy and laxity. There is no will to develop or put in proper infrastructure. Protests, petitions and letters have fallen on deaf ears. BWSSB has started digging the roads to lay drainage pipes. Work is at a slow pace.”
Abu Bakkar | BUSINESSMAN, Amit Kumar Srivastava | VICE-PRESIDENT, MAHAVEER JEWELS APARTMENT OWNERS’ ASSOCIATION
Major parts of Puttenahalli can now breathe easy thanks to some projects. But there are certain pockets that are sensitive to downpour — 9th, 10th and 24th Mains including 15th and 16th Cross. There are no stormwater drains here and residents have to wait for days for water to recede. Though the BBMP and BWSSB has comprehensive plans to put in place UGD and water supply, the exercise still remains on paper.
“From several years we are running from pillar to post holding protests and submitting representations to the officials and the CM but with zero results. It is absolute chaos during rain and we have to remove water from the houses. Flooding is common and there are many occasions when I had applied leave to office and ended up cleaning the house.’’
Smitha Mithu | SOFTWARE PROFESSIONAL
This area is below Koramangala Valley — the storm water drain and naturally, roads will be under water during rain. Ejipura is adjacent to the primary drain which runs inside the Koramangala National Games Village. The Karnataka Housing Board (KHB) authorities — for want of more space for car parking — have covered the primary drain. The KHB has constructed pillars across the drain for the carpark and have obstructed the flow of water. Added to this is encroachment on the drain.
Around 10 roads starting from Ejipura 9th Main and Ashwini Layout gets flooded and it takes more than five hours for the primary drain to clear.
“Residents have contributed to the problem by deviating from by-laws. But there is a solution. If the BBMP really wants to solve this perennial problem we can discuss and work out ways to solve it.
For instance, the primary drain covered in Games Village is the main culprit. Let the authorities remove the cover and widen the drain.’’
Shivkumar N | CHARTERED ACCOUNTANT
Picture this. An aircraft waiting to take off on the runway of HAL airport. A few metres away, workers are busy clearing garbage and sewage from an open drain in Murugeshpalya. Houses around the area bear the brunt and that too after the BBMP claimed that it has remodelled the drain.
A new bridge over the drain (on Wind Tunnel Road) is meant to avert flooding of the surrounding low-lying areas. Absence of roadside drains along the new bridge and uncleared debris is obstructing free flow of water below the new bridge.
“We have no stormwater drains. All electric gadgets in my house are damaged every year. We are forced to drain out water into the manhole.’’
Sreenivas | A RESIDENT WHOSE HOUSE WAS INUNDATED DURING THE LAST RAIN
One cannot expect water to flow from lower to higher levels. This is precisely the case that has made the plight of the residents miserable. Overflowing manholes, chocked stormwater drains and knee-deep water is common during rain. Work on remodelling of stormwater drain package III of the Koramangala Valley project is in a limbo. The retention wall has been left undone which has caused severe problems to the apartments as rain water gushes into their basements. Chocked primary drains is yet another cause for worry as water stagnates throughout the layout. Water from Ejipura, Military Grounds and other surrounding areas collect at Ashwini Layout and gets clogged since there is no vent for it to flow.
“Clandestine development projects are primarily responsible for the crisis. Some years ago, there was absolutely no problem as the water flowed smoothly through the main drain which connects to the Challagatta Valley. The BDA unscientifically raised the level of the ring road and this has worsened the situation. Even the connecting primary drains are unscientifically dug up which has resulted in reverse flow of the water from the main drain into the area through the primary drains.’’
K Anil Kumar | CONVENER, ASHWINI LAYOUT RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION
Very next to the impressive flyover that speaks of engineering skills, the plush HSR Layout has many problems. Waterlogged main roads, open and overflowing manholes and stench spreading all around to mention a few. Residential complexes and houses are aplenty but lack of proper planning has made life miserable for those who have spent heavily to construct their homes. A series of manholes overflow in Sector I, unattended by BBMP for days together. Right in front of the stinking chamber is a school. Little children have to bear the brunt of BBMP’s apathy.
“Roads have been laid broadly but unscientifically. A shower or two is enough to inundate the area. Though the main drain flows nearby, proper vents have not been given for the rain water to flow to the primary drains. Overflowing sewage from the manholes make life more miserable. We have lost confidence in the BBMP.’’
M N Palanivel | ADVOCATE, HSR LAYOUT, SECTOR I
Knee-deep water on the roads is bad. Knee-deep water inside houses is worse. This is the situation at Subbanna Gardens. Drain work is half done and apartments throw garbage right on the concrete slab built on the stormwater drain. The I cross, VI main is the worst affected. The drain which is connected to the Kempavathi Lake has been ill managed.
“We have no complaints against the MLA of the area as he frequently visits the place and takes stock of the situation. Despite repeated instructions, BBMP personnel do not act. When BBMP does not respond to an MLA, will they care if we residents complain?’’
M Umesh | BUSINESSMAN