Saturday, August 30, 2008

Flooded layout cries for help

Flooded layout cries for help
After 4 days of rain, Bangaloreans have been forced out of their homes by overflowing drains, lakes

Bhadrappa Layout: Young Shilpa was initially upset that “uncle” did not come to see what a bad shape her house was in. “There is nobody else who can speak for us; my sister is physically challenged and I am the only one,” she tells us. The Class VIII student finally musters the courage to call out to “uncle”, Yelahanka MLA Krishna Byregowda. Her house is one of the first to have been built in Bhadrappa Layout, one of several low-lying areas that are flooded after every bout of rain.
Shilpa goes to school only two days a week. The rest of the time, she has to stay back and scoop out the water in her house. Another worry for her is that she does not have a place to do her homework. Byregowda promised a solution and assured Shilpa’s sister of the benefits which physically challenged persons are entitled to.
Byregowda inspected the layout and surrounding lanes which were flooded this week from the rain. He heard the same complaints: overflowing drains and flooding every monsoon.
Bhadrappa Layout is a mess. The layout, inhabited by the working class, is at the lowest point of Hebbal lake and does not have vents for water to flow out. Streets are narrow and houses are built right next to open drains. It is a potential health hazard, with kids playing near the drains. Apart from the flooding, drinking water is a problem.
A resident, Govind, says, “There is no regular supply of water to this area. We just rush to wherever there is supply; it can be in one corner of the area on one day and in the other corner the next,” he says. Some houses have sunk little wells inside their compound for non-drinking purposes. But with the floods, even this has been rendered useless, said Damodara’s family, supervising the cleaning of the tank next to their front door.
Every house has a story to tell. Satya’s two little children peep from behind her as she points out to her compound. The water rises to cover over half of the walls of her house. “When it rains at night, where do I go with small children?” she asks.
The situation in the area is bad, admits Byregowda. Speaking to the The Times of India, he says only a technical solution would improve the situation, something that they are working on. There are only two solutions, one would be to raise the level of the area by another two feet; the height was raised by three feet earlier. The other would be to construct a drain on a parallel road. “But there is a lot of resistance from residents to this,” he says.
Woman washed away: The floods in the Bhadrappa Layout washed away an old woman. Her body was found on Friday morning. Police and residents say she was an old woman who lived beneath a tree. She was swept away in an under-construction drain.


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