Monday, August 30, 2010

Ulsoor drain is cesspool of danger

Ulsoor drain is cesspool of danger
Chethan Kumar, Bangalore, Aug 29, DH News Service :

Months after two boys lost their lives when they fell into open drains, the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagare Palike (BBMP) does not appear to have woken up to the dangers of open sewages that people continue to be exposed to.

A retaining wall for the open drain near the Adarsha Theatre on Old Madras Road at Ulsoor has collapsed, posing a clear and present danger to the lives of pedestrians who daily tread that congested path. The vagaries of nature caused normal wear and tear in the wall which crumbled over a month ago.

In September 2009, one-and-a-half-year old Vijay lost his life to an open drain off Bannerghatta Road. Two months earlier, six-year-old Abhishek fell into an open sewage but his body could not be found. And now, in the case of the open drain at Ulsoor, the old structure that separated the sewer line from the pavement which people cannot avoid using because of the Metro rail work and traffic flow.

But the BBMP, which is not aware of the wall collapse, does not quite seem to appreciate the danger the drain poses to residents, shopkeepers and even children. Speaking to Deccan Herald, BBMP East Zone Chief Engineer Somashekar said the civic body was not aware of the development and that he would, along with Chief Storm Water Drain Engineer Munikrishna, inspect the area and take “necessary action”.

The volume of rain in the past two weeks has made the situation worse because the drain is now close to overflowing, along with the City’s wastewater, human waste, food scraps, plastic and other effluent.

Stanley Selvakumar, a pest-controller and a local resident, said: “The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation has a bus stop near Adarsha theatre and those get off from buses there have to walk past the drain.

With heavy rains in the past few days and a poor pavement surface, there is always the danger of someone accidentally slipping into the drain.” Selvakumar’s main concern is for children who use that stretch of the road as there are a couple of schools nearby.
The traffic policmen, who are eyewitness to the situation since they manage vehicular movement at the CMH Road-Old Madras Road intersection, expressed concern and disappointment with the BBMP’s apathetic attitude.

Inspector Kavitha M C, while questioning the utilisation of taxpayers’ money, said: “I am very disappointed with the manner in which the corporation prioritises its projects. I recently read that they were clearing projects in a matter of seconds without proper discussion but they cannot make this a priority even after losing two children no more than a year ago.”

While BBMP Commissioner Siddaiah could not be contacted despite several attempts, corporation sources said that a clear picture on how the engineering department would approach the problem posed by open drains across the City would emerge only after the budget is present on Monday.

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