Saturday, April 21, 2007

It rained havoc across the city

It rained havoc across the city

Bangalore: It rained misery on Bangaloreans on Thursday, but by all indications, we ain’t seen nothing yet. Overflowing drains, submerged roads, clogged shoulder drains, brimming trenches and pits along dilapidated pavements were a common sight across the city. BBMP’s efforts to prevent a repeat of the 2005 flooding took a severe beating.
We’re paying more now, including a storm water drain cess (10% of property tax), but we’re getting little in return. Over the last year, the BBMP spent Rs 132.44 crore on drain-related works. But the scenes now are reminiscent of earlier years.
BBMP commissioner K Jairaj is confident: “We are better prepared.” We can only hope, for that’s all we have now. RAIN & RUIN Forecast: Doomsday
Bangalore: Year-long desilting of drains, regradation of valleys, relaying of roads, cleaning of manholes and utility lines. Despite all this, all it took was one downpour on Thursday night to give Bangaloreans a preview of what’s in store for them this monsoon.
Overflowing drains, submerged roads, clogged shoulder drains, brimming trenches and pits along dilapidated pavements. Crores of rupees spent on the drain works went down the drain.
Bangalore faced the worst flooding in 2005 due to a poor drainage system. After a year, it come out with a project to remodel the storm water drain network of over 252 km. This year’s budget introduced a new storm water drain cess (10% of property tax) to partly finance the valley remodelling project.
But can Bangalore survive torrential rain even as most projects carry the ‘ongoing work’ boards?
Over the last year, the BBMP spent Rs 132.44 crore on drain-related works.
Another serious problem is overflowing manholes. “We have at least 1.5 lakh manholes across the city and these need to be monitored regularly. With increase in high-rise buildings and smaller diameter of feeder pipes, the sewers are overloaded. We hope people come forward to install 300 mm diameter pipes for sanitary lines, and also stop dumping waste and debris into manholes,’’ BWSSB officials explained.
Residents often add to the problem. Once a road gets flooded, the instant reaction is to open up manhole covers to drain off excess water. But this is redundant. The age-old British-era sewerage lines are not equipped to take the extra load and when the water inflow goes up, the manholes just pop out. At one point, the BWSSB also mooted locking up manhole covers, but the idea was abandoned. Usually, water flooding in Bangalore doesn’t last for more than two hours. If the situation goes out of control, residents are evacuated from that area. There are task forces in each zone, apart from the BBMP main control room. Each task force has 30 with an excavator, motors to pump out water, and other necessary equipment. In addition to the task force, about 100 persons will be pressed into service during crises.
In Bangalore, 85% of rainfall normally occurs between 4 pm and 4 am. The main cause for water logging is the failure of storm water drains (SWDs). Over the years, these SWDs have become incapacitated. Rapid urbanisation, encroachment on SWDs, damages in the drain walls have led to overflowing of storm water and causing floods.
Rain and thunder storm continued on Friday evening inundating some low lying areas. However, no untoward incidents were reported. Some pockets of the city experienced severe showers through the night, with intermittent power disruptions.
At Indiranagar, branches of a tree broke down damaging a car. A tree was also uprooted near Tata Institute.
Ongoing projects
Remodelling of storm water drain: Rs 357 crore, to cover 252 kms across four major valleys — Chellaghatta, Hebbal, Koramangala and Vrishabhavathy Status: 1/3rd completed Deadline: 9 months
Segregation of storm water drains from sewerage lines: Rs 40 crore, to cover 35 kms along four valleys Status: Yet to take off
Amount spent last year on drain works
Valley work - Rs 129 crore
Desilting, covering, bridges - Rs 3 crore
Watch out for potholes, open ditches, and electric cables If the water is up to knee level, wade through but stay to the middle of the road Beware of SWDs at the same level as the road and open trenches Watch out for low-hanging tree branches or uprooted trees; there is risk of coming in contact with live electric wires Drive slowly, very slowly Low-lying and flood-prone areas Ejipura in Koramangala Valley Shankarappa Garden in Vrishabavathi Valley Some areas around Ulsoor Lake HELP DESK
BBMP control room
Central: 22221188; 22975595; 22100031/32/33/34/35 East: 22975803 West: 23561692 South: 26566362
Bescom control room
22287118/119, IVRS 12660
Fire force and ambulance
101, 100 and 102
BWSSB control rooms
South: 22945155 West: 22945186 East: 22945159. North: 22945129, 22945240


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