Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Grin & Bear

Grin & Bear
People’s participation & people’s obstruction — two sides of the flooding issue. Residents of flood-prone Mysore Road and Hebbal have joined hands with the authorities to tackle choked valleys and blocked lakes. But rain-ravaged people of Puttenahalli won’t do this. Now, monsoon has arrived. What will happen in Puttenahalli? Only time, or rain, will tell.
The Times of India

Unauthorised constructions on rajakaaluves (main canals) were responsible for flooding the city last year. Will it be rewind October 2005? Wait and see.

A high-level valley encroachment eviction panel constituted by the government surveyed the city and found that 708 unauthorised constructions had blocked the valleys. Sixty-one buildings are standing on the rajakaaluves of Puttenahalli, Sarakki and Nayandahalli which are primarily responsible for inundating the city.

Subsequently, demolition notices were issued to violators who obtained a stay from the court, bringing the process to a halt. Sensing that demolition would not be a quick answer with monsoon already arriving, the government has come up with alternative plans: Immediately clear the encroachments and keep the valleys free to carry excess water.

Perhaps, for the first time, residents have supported the administration in carrying out demolitions in Bhadrappa Layout and MS Ramaiah north city under the Byatarayanapura CMC limits: an area ravaged by monsoon last year. The authorities along with residents demolished 67 constructions along the rajakaaluve of Kodigehalli tank.
“Since the residents went through hardship last year, they supported us in convincing building owners to vacate homes standing on the valleys. We demolished them,’’ Byatarayanapura commissioner C S Dashwanth said. BMP has also started constructing a storm water drain running up to 18 km connecting Kodigehalli tank to Kalkere tank to carry excess water discharged from the water bodies.

Another area which experienced flooding was Mysore Road as Nayandahalli tank had breached. The tank’s rajakaaluve is blocked by 24 buildings and Mysore Road, Rajarajeshwarinagar were inundated. Floods occurred as tank vents near the adjacent timber mills were encroached upon.

“Litigation has stopped demolition of illegal buildings. So, building owners along the rajakaaluve have agreed to give alternative land free of cost to build a storm water drain along the tank gradient,’’ officials said.

In KR Puram, Pai Layout was also marooned as the Benniganahalli tank overflowed and in the absence of drains, there was no outlet for the water to recede. BDA has taken up a storm water drain that is nearing completion.
However, the situation is grim in Puttenahalli. As many as 28 buildings have encroached upon the tank’s rajakaaluve which had resulted in the area going under five feet water during rains. Authorities have chalked plans to construct drains by acquiring land, at a cost of Rs 52 crore — Rs 32 crore for land acquisition, Rs 20 crore to build the drain.

But there seems to be no way out here. Reason: Puttenahalli is choked with buildings with hardly any lung space. Though BDA has identified 500-odd buildings which have to be acquired to widen the road and construct drains, owners are unwilling to give up their properties.

The government has asked Stup Consultants to study the area and come up with an alternative plan. The proposal is to construct a drain beneath the existing road for a stretch of 4 km connecting Puttenahalli tank to the primary drain on JP Nagar VI phase.


Bangalore’s lakes are inter-connected and finding an isolated solution to tackle the encroachment of water bodies is not workable.

For instance, this is the chain in Bangalore South: Water that overflows from Kottanur Lake joins Puttenahalli-Sarakki-Bilekahalli-Madivala-Agara-Bellandur and finally Penna river. Similarly, in the East, Kodigehalli Lake joins Hebbal Lake-Nagawara-Kalkere which joins Yelemallappa river.


A survey revealed that 29 tanks such as Begur, Sarakki, Puttenahalli, Madivala, Agara, Bellandur, Nagawara, Kodigehalli, Benniganahalli, Kothanur had overflowed.

The tanks’ rajakaaluves have been blocked by 708 unauthorised constructions.

Kodigehalli, Nagawara, Hebbal, Puttenahalli, Sarakki, Nayandahalli, Agara lakes overflowed heavily inundating Bhadrappa Layout, HSR Layout, JP Nagar, Puttenahalli, Mysore Road, Rajarajeshwarinagar.
Primary valleys of these lakes were blocked by 61 buildings comprising sheet houses to commercial complexes to high-rise apartments.

Notices were issued by Bangalore urban district deputy commissioner M A Sadiq, but owners have obtained a stay.

6 Authorities have funds for Puttenahalli. 6 Have plans to construct drains by acquiring land. 6 People not interested. 6 One way out is to construct a drain beneath the existing road. 6 Government exploring possibility.


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