Thursday, May 28, 2009


The met department tells citizens to be prepared for more rain than usual. Taking no chance, BWSSB will use 30 additional jetting machines to pump out flood water. BBMP, too, is readying to meet the challenge
Aarthi R & Jayashree Nandi | TNN

Bangalore: Pre-monsoon showers and news that the monsoon has just hit the Kerala coast, have triggered the worst fears among Bangaloreans. It’s best to be prepared for more rain than usual, says the Met department.
“There are chances of heavy rain in the first month of the monsoon. The city is likely to receive more than moderate rain,’’ Met director A Muthuchami told The Times of India. He explained the impact, “There will be one spell of heavy rain in the next two/three days. And another following it. A week of thunderstorms may follow, to settle down to drizzles for another couple of weeks.”
FACING FLOODS: With old pipelines and an underground drainage system that’s still under renovation, the BWSSB hopes to redress many of the flooding issues during the monsoon, with 30 additional jetting machines to pump out flooded sewerage waters.
Last year, BWSSB embarked on a massive manhole cleaning drive and covered 60,000 of them. This year, the drive has started again, with workers notching up 30 to 50 manholes a day. “We are trying to speed it up before the monsoon completely sets in,’’ a spokesperson for BWSSB said.
PROBLEM AREAS: One of the major issues BWSSB faces is: in 80% of houses, water stagnating on terraces is let into the underground drainage system (UGD). The UGD has the capacity to manage only waste water. The excess pressure on the system by flooding rain water leads to frequent overflowing of chamber lines. “We urge all residents to channelise rain water flow from their terraces to a network connected to adjoining storm water drains,’’ a BWSSB official said. HSR Layout and parts of HAL vulnerable to floods.
MORE MEASURES: Reacting to fears of sewage water contaminating drinking water supply, he said, “The issue cannot be completely ruled out, considering that they run parallel to each other. In case of UGD, only reactive measures can be taken and not precautionary. We have changed old pipelines in many areas, including Bharathinagar, where we spent Rs 3 crore to change the UGD system, and 90% of the work is complete. We have changed some pipelines in Shivajinagar as well.’’ Any floods and the Board hopes to provide immediate remedial measures.
Now, we are cleaning everything BBMP engineer-in-chief A K Gopalaswamy speaks
Comparing last year and now, how prepared is Bangalore to face monsoon days? Any lessons learnt from pre-monsoon showers?
It may be too early to comment. Pre-monsoon showers have not left major damage. Places like Puttenahalli and Mysore Road, which faced severe floods last year, were safe despite 65 mm of rain recently.
Storm water drains have been a problem every monsoon. This seems to have continued into this year as well, despite the projects taken up.
Yes, it’s always been an area of concern. We have a team of 20 workers headed by a superintendent engineer to look into regular de-silting of these drains. Apart from that, we have also initiated works on remodelling of these drains in many problem areas. The BWSSB will also be providing us with jetting machines for flood control.
Road widening has resulted in a lot of manholes on the roads. And a few of them are in poor condition. What do you plan to do?
True. We had met up with BWSSB two days ago on this. Within a week, all manholes on the roads will be cleaned and we will ensure that they are on par with the road surface. We will also be looking into the safety aspects, checking on the lids.
A way out for Sai Layout?
Crude roads, a slanted, uncared-for signboard welcomes you to Sai Layout in Vaddarapalya, which remains deserted and is yet to get over last year’s flood damage. And chances of a way out are remote for this layout that’s built on the bell-mouth of the lake backwaters, says the BBMP. Located at the lowest limits of Hennur Bande, this layout is perennially affected during the monsoon days. Much of the layout is on the banks of a huge drain, that forms the backwaters of the Kalkere lake. Waters from nearly 11 lakes across the city join up here. Despite moderate rain here, this area has floods whenever it rains heavily elsewhere. Last year, the floods forced many to even move out of their homes. The Rs-1,000 compensation hardly got them over their heavy losses. And even today, the conditions are similar.
Palike takes a few steps
Vishnu, 7, trips lightly on a long, thin, looselyfixed wooden plank to cross the wide drain flowing in front of his house — right on the main road. “After last year, this drain was cleaned just a few days ago,’’ complains his mother. During the recent rain, the drain waters reached an alarming level, say fearful residents. The interiors of the layout reveal even more pathetic conditions. “It’s the same. Nothing has changed,’’ rues Alexander, who works in an industry making pollution masks. No proper roads, no proper drinking water and no street lights while walking along the isolated roads in the dark. And there are mosquitoes and even huge snakes — some pythons have made their way into homes too. “During floods, it’s not just the waters but also snakes that worry us,’’ says Priscilla, a resident. Interestingly, more than one department of the BBMP has been working on this area — the storm water drain department and zonal division in Byatarayanapura. “But, located at the lowest level, it remains an area of concern,’’ BBMP joint commissioner (Byatarayanapura) Virupaksha Mysore said. But the recent work initiated should spell relief this year, he said. TNN


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