Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sewage welcomes customers here

Sewage welcomes customers here
S Lalitha , Sep 29, Bangalore:

A ridiculous sight greets visitors to the garment and jewellery shops lining the Jumma Masjid Road in Shivaji Nagar. Mammoth slabs, large bricks and iron stools with grills line the entrance to most businesses here.


These are absolutely vital, for without them any customer would have to wade through knee-length stagnant sewage and rainwater to shop.
Leaking sewage pipes left unattended, gaping potholes and overflowing drains have ensured that half the Jumma Masjid Road (formerly OPH Road) is occupied by water. It is only along the other half that vehicles and shoppers who dare to come here shopping jostle for space.

“You may find this hard to believe. But a few of my customers keep calling us to find out if the sewage water in front of the shop has been cleared,” said S Mohanlal Bohra, Proprietor, Prakash Jewellers. “Their health concerns are totally justified when you realise that just last week two jewellers fell sick and doctors have advised them to keep away from the foul stench outside their shops. Bohra, also the head of the Jewellers Association of his locality, says members were constantly complaining about the negative impact the sewage water caused to their sales.

He also brandishes a letter signed by BWSSB officials dated June 17, which assured that the problem would be set right in a fortnight. “This followed a protest by 60 shopkeepers after downing shutters a day earlier. But our condition remains the same three months later,” Bohra laments.

Hitesh of Bohra Jewellers regrets that he is short of a staff member due to this issue. “My watchman is now bedridden as he fell sick due to constant exposure to this stench,” he says.

The owner of a nearby shop was smarter. With the aid of a broom, his staffer was being directed to push away water outside their shops to the neighbouring places.
Around 50 pipes, each measuring six feet in height have been laid down horizontally along the road by BWSSB. “They have been done just today with the assurance that they would replace the leaking pipes. But God only knows when they would actually do the work,” said another shop owner.

Further down the road, at the junction of this street with the Dharmaraja Koil Street, a hawker who has been around the same spot for 25 years, Khader Bhai, paid Rs 200 to a person on Tuesday to clear the choked water in front of his shop. “We have tried calling up the BBMP and BWSSB but it served no purpose. So, I decided to clear it on my own,” he adds. he adds. Syed Zafer, who runs `Goodluck Sweets’ wonders how anyone would feel like buying delicacies in such surroundings. A top BWSSB official said the department was taking steps to replace the existing sewage pipelines with ones of bigger diameter. “Those of nine inches dia were now being replaced by 12 inches dia. When this is done, the problem can be rectified,” he added. However, he was vague about the completion time.

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