Saturday, September 26, 2009

So many city bosses, but who’s doing rain-damage control?

So many city bosses, but who’s doing rain-damage control?
Seethalakshmi S | TNN

Bangalore: Three MPs, 16 MLAs, three ministers dedicated for Bangalore urban development, a vision group and an agenda for Bangalore infrastructure development. And 198 corporators on the way.
Yet the IT capital collapses when the skies open up. Year after year and rain after rain, Bangaloreans put up with waters gushing into their homes, stink that emanates from the overflowing storm water drains, flooded lanes and thoroughfares and chock-a-block roads.
Virtually everyone involved in Bangalore’s development points a finger at disappearing lakes and the consequent flooding. “We have lost nearly 50 lakes and tanks during the last few years. Where will the water go? It gets into homes and the roads,” says BBMP commissioner Bharat Lal Meena.
Agenda for Bangalore Infrastructure and Development (Abide) member Ashwin Mahesh says its a vicious
circle. “Since drains are open, it invites debris which results in block and then overflows into the roads.”
If faulty drainage system is the excuse, why aren’t the experts setting it right? If encroachment on storm water drain is common, why are officials who sanction the plan for these buildings not sacked?
Grandiose plans to make Bangalore a Shanghai or Singapore comes to a naught when the skies open up. Why? None, neither the Bangalore ministers nor urban experts have an answer. While A Ravindra, adviser to the chief minister on urban affairs, says a comprehensive policy on drainages is the answer, ABIDe convener and Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar feels ad hoc measures for a growing Bangalore have killed the city. “We must have midterm and long-term solutions. It’s not about closing one pothole but looking at the entire road which is the need of the hour. But our authorities have only immediate solutions.”
Bangaloreans have had enough of this blame-game. Rains during the last 48 and more hours have wreaked havoc. Several areas were inundated, vehicles stuck on flooded roads for hours on end. Worse, enough money has gone down the drain. BBMP alone has spent close to Rs 300 crore in recent years on remodelling drains. Yet tragedies recur.
Do we Bangaloreans deserve this?


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