Saturday, August 30, 2008

Residents wage lone battle

Residents wage lone battle
TIMES NEWS NETWORK

Avalahalli: Residents of Sai Garden Apartments here enjoy a fantastic view of the tranquil Elemallapa lake. Once it starts overflowing, however, their peace is shattered.
The residential colony, housing 200 families, is on saucershaped terrain, allowing in and retaining water. All have vacated — many rushing to the temporary refuge at hotels and houses of friends and relatives and a few even staying at their workplace.
Sai Garden Apartment’s woes are many. No power, no drinking water and now, no residents. All you can see is water. Everywhere. Occasionally, a cars floats down the slush and a snake slithers amid the dripping weeds. The flood water, which began seeping in early on Thursday afternoon, hasn’t receded. The water has brought muck into the flats. Water levels came down on Friday, but it will take another 4-5 days to completely drain it out.
Relief measures have little impact, say residents, all from wellto-do families. The floods on Thursday were controlled only after a wall was broken to let water into the drain.
Most relief operations in the apartment, which comes under the Seegehalli village panchayat, are being carried out by the residents’ association. Kamatchi, Nagaratna, Vasantha, Geetha and Narayanamma, the house-keeping staff, have been working from 8.30 am till 6 pm since Thursday.
This is the third time residents have been forced to contend with floods. It got flooded in 2001 and again in 2004, during the heavy rain. “I was terror-struck last time and the floods damaged property worth Rs 3 lakh. I am yet to recover from it. This time, I am firm about a final solution,” says resident Arvind Yedavalli.
Venugopal has decided to bid adieu. “There is no point in staying. What is the point in blaming the government or anyone else when the foundation has been laid on the canal side,” he says.
Every time the Elemallapa lake overflows, the apartments, situated near its tank bed, get flooded. Residents’ miseries are compounded by its proximity to a nala that channels water from the lake to Varthur Kodi.
Encroachments have considerably narrowed the drain, which was originally 80-100 feet wide. Silt and garbage dumped by hotels and houses have also made it shallow. In some places, the depth has reduced from 30 feet to just six.
The lowest point of Sai Gardens is 12-13 feet below the level of the bridge over the storm water drain. The ground-floor flat is eight feet high; with two feet of foundation, it stands at 10 feet. This means even under normal conditions, the ground floor is two feet below the bridge level.
Authorities apathetic
The area is under Seegehalli village panchayat, Hoskote taluk, and comes under BMRDA. But rescue operations were carried out by resident association members. The boat used for rescue on Thursday was also a private one. Apart from the police, civic authorities have not visited the area.

Residents leave their homes in a coracle on Friday

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