Saturday, August 30, 2008

MAROONED!

MAROONED!

For almost five days the residents of Defence Enclave in Mariyannana Palya have not been able to stir out of their homes. Without power and surviving on tinned food, they are waiting for the waist-high waters caused by the recent rains to recede

By Niranjan Kaggere
Posted On Saturday, August 30, 2008

Almost all of them have braved bullets, crossed raging rivers on pontoon bridges, and endured the privations of active military duty. But they were certainly not prepared for this. For the retired military officers of Defence Enclave in Mariyannana Palya, near Outer Ring Road (Nagavara), it’s been baptism by fire of a different kind. They are learning first hand what it is to encounter the effects of poor urban planning.

For the past five days around 50 houses in this upscale locality have been cut off from the rest of the city. Located on the banks of the rainwater canal connecting the Rachenahalli and Nagavara lakes, the colony has been marooned, its streets submerged under water up to waist height.

With their belongings, furniture heaped atop terraces, living on tinned food amidst intermittent power cuts, many retired colonels, brigadiers and squadron leaders are spending sleepless nights.

For retired Squadron Leaders T R Sharma and M V Uthaman, who opted for Bangalore following retirement from the Armed Forces, Defence Enclave was pensioner’s paradise, the peaceful idyll they so desired. That is, till the monsoons struck and brought regrets in its wake. “Our family came to Bangalore five years ago and settled in this colony. No one told us about the flooding problem during monsoons. Last year owing to less rains there were not much problems, but this year it has been quite traumatic for the last four days with no power and potable water,” lamented Sharma.

WATER WORLD

When Bangalore Mirror visited the colony early morning on Friday, the retired military personnel were found fighting a different kind of war this time: they were trying to ward off the rising waters, mixed as it was with seeping sewage, and bringing snakes and other reptiles into their homes.

“Last year I reconstructed the entire garden with artifacts, potteries and unique plants, but again the rains have washed them away completely. At least today the level has receded to knee-deep level. Till yesterday it was waist high and entire furniture sets were in submerged in water. However, at the last minute we managed to heap them on the top of the terrace,” explained Uthaman standing on top of the terrace with his grandson.

A retired colonel, who didn’t want to be named, said, “All these years it was fine and there was not much water. But once the canal was deepened by local construction engineers, the problem started. Not knowing the elevation of the canal, they deepened the canal at one stretch adjacent to our layout and left the other stretch in the same elevation level. Hence much of the water started moving into our area and clogged it up for many days as the draining out passage is very narrow.”

SOME RESPITE

However, the visit of local MLA Krishna Byregowda brought some respite to many of the residents. “On Thursday, the MLA and officials had come down and immediately JCBs were put into action. Hence there has been some respite for us. But still, when we complained to BBMP officials and area engineers there were no efforts to solve the problem,” said Velayudhan, another resident of the locality. “Equipments in all rooms, wardrobes, kitchen, beds, and electric junction boxes have gone under water. You cannot even switch on the borewell to get water. Our workers are getting packed food from outside,” explained a retired Lt Colonel.

SPECTRE OF DISEASE

“Now the water is constantly moving. But once the rains stop, it will stagnate because and mosquitoes will start breeding in the water and you can expect all sorts of fevers. Besides you need to be vigilant constantly as water snakes and other reptiles might creep in. For the last three days we have had sleepless nights. With all equipments being dumped atop there is no place to rest also. The milkman and vegetable vendors too refused to come till Thursday and today a few have finally relented,” said a retired Brigadier.

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