Sunday, November 16, 2008

Metro to destroy 5L wells

Metro to destroy 5L wells

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Once Namma Metro begins the underground tunnelling of the Central Business District three months from today, at least five lakh establishments will be without water as their borewell connections will cease to exist.

Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation’s plans to build a 9.15 km long tunnel below the city at a cost of Rs 1,250 crore will see lakhs of borewell connections in the vicinity of the rail alignment being plugged.

The underground alignment passes through the most densely populated areas of Bengaluru — the central business district in Chickpet, Cottonpet, Cubbonpet, Upparpet, Avenue Road, KG Road, City Market and Kalasipalyam as well as high profile Minsk Square, Vidhana Soudha, Raj Bhavan, Race Course and the city’s oldest and most tony addresses in Sheshadripuram, Kumara Park and Malleshwaram.

Government sources said the borewell connections in the vicinity of the alignment will be permanently removed.

“Every second home in the city has a borewell connection because of the irregular water supply. There is no alternative but to remove these connections and plug the holes as it will affect the tunnel. Twin tunnels will allow trains to run in parallel but opposite directions, some 15 to 30 metres below the earth’s surface. The official added, “So effectively, lakhs of residents, business houses, shops and establishments and government departments will have no borewells. Preliminary estimates reveal that more than five lakh borewell connections will have to removed.” On the North-South Corridor, the 4.5 kms underground tunnel will start at Swastik Theatre near Sheshadripuram and emerge from Victoria Hospital near City Market.

The East-West underground corridor, some 4.65 kms length, will begin at the KSCA Cricket Stadium near MG Road and end at the Leprosy Hospital behind the City Railway Station.

Residents, already frustrat ed by the BWSSB’s erratic water supply will no longer be able to depend on their own water sources, built at a huge personal cost.

Currently, the BWSSB supplies Cauvery water to the city every alternate day and the consumers augment it by alternatively pumping ground water.

With BMRCL sealing the borewells, the big question is how a large part of Bengalurueans will access water, and secondly, whether the government will compensate for the loss against the capital investment of these borewells?

Each connection requires an investment of a minimum of Rs 1 lakh.

BMRCL authorities, when asked for a comment said that cutting off borewells was “inevitable” even as they remained hopeful that BWSSB will come to their rescue.

“We have carried out a massive impact study through an NGO that visited each building and collated the data. While compensating the borewell owners is still under discussion what can be possibly done is to ensure uninterrupted water supply to all the affected through BWSSB,” a senior BMRCL official said.

Compounding the problem is the issue of relocating century old pipelines that serve most parts of the city. Officials said they were aware of the huge impact the underground tunneling could have on people and were therefore proceeding with caution.

“This is an important segment of Namma Metro project. It requires planning right down to the last detail to facilitate timely execution. Each move can have a huge impact so we are being meticulous right down to the last detail,” said the official.


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