Tuesday, September 29, 2009

WET, WEARY AND FED UP

WET, WEARY AND FED UP
TOI profiles some areas of Bangalore which face the brunt of rain havoc year after year
— Aparajitha Ray and Garima Prasher

SHIVAJINAGAR BEEF MARKET Slushy lanes, rotten vegetables
and meat pieces, badly potholed
roads and people coping with the same problems. Residents of the Beef Market area in Shivajinagar have learned to cope with the rain damage, much of it due to the huge storm water drain that carries water from Shivajinagar, Vasanthnagar and areas behind the market. When it rains heavily in any of these areas, the water overflows from this drain onto the roads.
Shahan, who stays behind the market, said: “The drain has been under construction for a long time. Water rises to almost 3 feet in our houses every time it rains heavily.”
With no proper outlet, polluted water remains stagnant for hours. Vegetables discarded on the road mix with it and flow into houses. “Our children fall sick all the time because of the flies and mosquitoes,” he added. They have completely given up on the BBMP as its officials rarely come here to inspect the damage.
CHICKPET An old area which struggles with
the same old issues, leaving residents extremely frustrated. The streets of Akkipet, Sultanpet and Balepet are waterlogged for over four hours when it rains.
“First, the area is at a gradient. Second, drains overflow onto the roads. Till the water clears out, the roads stink. We cannot move on the road. Worse, when big vehicles pass by, the water splashes into our houses” complained Chetan Kumar, a resident of Akkipet.
Chickpet is one of the oldest and most neglected areas. It’s home to hundreds of shopowners and many residents. It’s worse when there’s overnight rain — the water level rises to 4 feet or more and parked vehicles start floating.
P Pandey stays in Balepet and has a shop in Akkipet. “Nobody listens to us. Only one or two BBMP drain cleaners move a stone here and there to let the water flow out. We want concrete plans worked out now.”
CAMBRIDGE LAYOUT Dr Ajith Benedict Royan has
seen the mess for years. A resident of 1st Cross here, he says the drain is uncovered and water overflows when it rains. Traffic on this stretch is blocked for several hours. “Though I’ve remodelled my house to block water from getting in, we’ve been unable to fix the problem,” he explained.
He’s not the only one; residents of this area are disgusted. All their complaints have fallen on deaf ears for years. When they complained to the BBMP this time, some officials even suggested they relocate elsewhere till the monsoon ends!
SAHAKARNAGAR Resident welfare associations
here decided to tackle the problem themselves. Usually, the marketplace gets flooded when it rains but there’s waterlogging in surrounding areas too. M S Srinivas said: “BBMP officials come when we complain but do nothing and vanish. This year, we had to protect our houses by stacking sandbags.” A drain by the national highway was built by the BBMP and that’s causing problems. “Its capacity is not much and when it rains, it overflows,” he added.
WILSON GARDEN Heavy rain last Wednesday left
5th Cross residents fuming. An uprooted tree is still lying there, blocking smooth flow of traffic. People are waiting for officials to visit the place and close the drains after cleaning them.
Hemant Kumar, a resident for the past 25 years, is upset. Water entered his house at least thrice last week. “We cannot sleep when our houses are flooded. We’re busy removing water in the morning and cannot even go to work. The street lights don’t work and we have to walk through hip-deep water on some stretches,’’ he said.
Jyoti Bajaj, who’s been living in an apartment for the past two years, said: “No one told me about the problem when I rented this flat. We pay Rs 12,000 every month and at times there’s filthy water up to our knees inside our house.’’
Residents aren’t hopeful about BBMP officials coming to their rescue. “When we complain, they come, clean the drain and leave. But the situation remains the same after twothree downpours,’’ they say.
K H ROAD The stretch from BTS Junction
to K H Junction is choked with
traffic when it rains. The big storm water drain opposite Shanthinagar bus stand floods the whole area, causing the jam.
Last week, chief minister Yeddyurappa visited the place and promised remedial measures. “The drain is quite old and inadequate for the rain water,’’ said N R Sridhar, a shop owner here. Residents also said the place is visited by a number of officials and MLAs, but there’s no concrete action.
PUTTENAHALLI This low-lying area is one of the
first to get waterlogged. “The drains are open and cannot handle the amount of water when it rains. Moreover, water enters our houses,” said a resident of Astalakshmi Layout. The bridge on 1st Main collapsed around four months ago. But, repair work is yet to begin.
Enough is enough, feel citizens. What do some resident welfare associations say?
PROMISES COME QUICK
Last year at a big public meeting we vented our anger against the authorities and were promised action in six months. This year again, we have been given the same promise. We keep our fingers crossed. Despite the repeated emphasis on re-modelling of storm water drains, the huge drain that runs right across our area is not even maintained. The retention wall is very low and the drain is contaminated with sewage and hardly ever cleaned. What’s the change made in a year? The drain work that was then under the BBMP has now been entrusted to the BDA. Isn’t it time we had a permanent body to resolve these issues? — M Chandra Reddy | PRESIDENT, HAL II STAGE INDIRANAGAR RWA
WE SHOULD BE VIGILANT
It’s a perenial problem. But, we can’t blame civic authorities completely. How can you expect officials to deliver when the extent of corruption has gone beyond 100%? We could do something by starting a simple monitoring of works in our area. Why is it that we take all pains to get problems in our house sorted out but throw our hands up when it comes to checking progress of work in our lane? Much of it calls for a change in attitude. Very often, we only react as pressure cookers. Once we join hands in vigilance, it should be easy to get in accountability from civic bodies. — C M Subbaiah | PRESIDENT, FEDERATION OF SARVAGNANAGAR
ASSOCIATIONS
GET ALIVE ON DEADLINES
We are sick of complaining. RMV II Stage is perennially affected. Everyone has visited us — right from minister Katta Subramanya Naidu to the local engineers. We have a file of all those letters of promises. Yet we remain helpless when it rains. Cars were under water this time. They started on a major drain work and then stopped it midway. Who’s to complete it and when? They ask for people’s participation. Why don’t they act when we bring these issues to their notice? — V Satyamurthy | SANJAYNAGAR RESIDENT WELFARE ASSOCIATION

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