Thursday, April 22, 2010

Rain reveals BBMP's inadequacies

Rain reveals BBMP's inadequacies

Winds of 70 kmph, hailstorms and three hours of rain leave city doddering. Over 150 trees fall, traffic grinds to a halt in many parts

Sunitha Rao R, Bosky Khanna and Sandhya KS

Roads became little rivulets and nearly a hundred trees lost branches or were uprooted as pre-monsoon showers lashed Bangalore for about three hours on Wednesday afternoon. The sudden downpour, with hail storms and wind speed of up to 70 kmph, threw normal routine out of kilter. Director of IMD-Bangalore, B Puttanna, said that normal rainfall in April is 46.3 mm; this year, the city has seen over 69 mm till date. The weathermen recorded 18.1 mm and 30 mm of rainfall in the city and airport, respectively, till 11.30 pm on Wednesday.
BBMP's patrol vehicles were pressed into service to clear the roads of fallen logs. Water logging disrupted the flow of traffic at several places, including RT Nagar, MS Ramaiah Hospital Road, Old Airport Road, and Margosa Road. A BSNL tower in KHB colony was reported to have crumbled in the rain. Hundreds of techies were stuck on the Express Highway on Hosur Road, as water clogged the road. A huge branch came crashing in front of chief minister BS Yeddyurappa's house at Race Course Road.
At Malleswaram, near the Kadumalleshwara temple, a tree fell over a moving car. No casualties were reported. Former minister Somanna's son's car, parked in front of his residence at Vijayanagar, was crushed under a falling branch. Film star Prem was among those who set to work on a fallen tree at Chord Road, with his bare hands.
Dr Sathya Sheela Biradar, COO, BGS Global Hospital in Vijayanagar, said, "Around 4.15 pm, as the rain and hailstorms began, an iron structure used in metro construction near the Vijayanagar bus stand began to tilt; it looks now like the Leaning Tower of Pisa."
BBMP commissioner Bharat Lal Meena visited Vijayanagar, BCC Layout and Chandra Layout to assess the impact of the rain. Electric lines too were affected in many places. The BBMP commissioner admitted that the civic agency was ill-equipped to deal with a problem of this magnitude. "This was an unexpected, large-scale disruption, and we did not have the requisite manpower. We have a monsoon contingency plan, but measures will have to be taken to strengthen the team," said Meena.


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