Tuesday, May 18, 2010

They pass rain test with flying colours

They pass rain test with flying colours

As Sunday's downpour hit city, civic leaders practised lessons they recently learnt

Team DNA

Koramangala was pulverised on Sunday. Corporator BN Kokila said about 15 trees fell in her ward. "I was on phone continuously for hours," she told DNA on Monday. "Sunday added to the problem," she said. "KEB officials were on holiday. Power went out for at least three to four hours. We had to call the chief engineer to get things done."
We were curious to know whether last week's three-day orientation programme helped her. "Sure, it did. Those who know about disaster management had briefed us on things to be done during emergency. When trees fall and damage homes, it is the forest department to be contacted immediately, we know that," she said.
"The 4th and 5th blocks are prone to flooding and clogged drains are the bane. In 17th Main A Cross, no work has been done for nearly 15 years. This area is going to be my priority and I've asked all the de-silting work to begin from there forthwith," she said.
But Yelahanka was not so lucky. Some 24 hours after the rain, power remained cut off. About 50 to 60 trees were uprooted, and 20 to 30 electric poles either fell or were damaged. Five houses were partially hit.
"Since it is a Bescom problem, we did not contact corporator Muniraju who was busy with gram panchayat counting," said A Padmanabhan, founder president of Citizen Forum, New Town Yelahanka. But Muniraju said he was in constant touch with Bescom. As the task was heavy, it would take time for normalcy to return to rain-hit areas, he said.
Jeevan Bhima Nagar would have faced a bigger problem but for the efforts of corporator K Chandrashekar. Following a tree fall, the ward faced power cut for 12 hours. "It took three hours to remove the fallen tree that was obstructing the 13th Main. The work was completed on Monday afternoon," Chandrashekar said.
He believes that the existing mechanism is inadequate to deal with natural calamities. "There should be more government bodies to take care of such situations so that they can be handled well in time," he added.
HR Krishnappa of Rajajinagar ward chased the forest department to get two fallen trees removed in his ward. He said the forest department was prompt in their job. Corporator of Malleshwaram Jayapal N even made arrangements for quarters and food for at least 100 people in case the rains continued. But his ward was not hit. "Shelters and food arrangements were made for 100 people in case of excessive flooding or damage," Jayapal said.
He had arranged two kalyanamandapas and some government schools to be used as temporary shelters to those living in flash-flood-prone areas. "By God's grace, nothing happened," he said.
Jayappa Reddy CR, corporator of Hebbal, said he was quite unprepared for the rains on Sunday. "I don't have any plans in place as yet. In case of an emergency, we will call the forest department or the fire wing as soon as possible."
Dr MS Shivaprasad, corporator of Aramane Nagar, too was on his toes as the dark clouds threatened a severe pounding. But his ward was not hit. He found the orientation training useful. "They focused on disaster management, handling emergencies, proper waste disposal methods and rainwater harvesting."
Chickpet's barrenness proved a boon in the sense there were not much trees to fall. But the area is prone to water logging due to faulty drainage lines. ML Shivakumar, its corporator, said the few hours of rains saw many roads flooded with drainage water. Some houses too were affected.
"I had been ringing up PWD and BWSSB since last evening. Sunday proved a problem. The restoration work began only this afternoon. Drains of some areas have been cleared but the line remains clogged on Avenue Road," he said.
"In this area, the drainage lines are pretty old and I have talked with minister Katta Subrahmaniam on the need to replace them and solving the drinking water shortage," he said.
One lesson during the training proved useful. "Raju Naik gave us excellent tips on how to help residents in case of natural calamities and emergencies," he said
Barring a tiny section, most of Sanjayanagar was unaffected by yesterday's showers, said corporator NM Krishnamurthy. "But a power cut from around 6pm to 9pm gave residents anxious moments. Just one tree fell without causing any harm," he said.
Inputs from Ankita Kumar, Apeksha Rao, and Prachi Pandeygood show: When rain lashed Bangalore on Sunday, corporators did their best to clear road blocks and restore power supply


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