Tuesday, August 24, 2010

BBMP falls short of measures to tackle rain wrath, experts see flaws in civic planning

BBMP falls short of measures to tackle rain wrath, experts see flaws in civic planning

Bosky Khanna

It just took a few hours of downpour to expose the fact that the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) was ill prepared to deal with monsoon showers.
All it took was 42.2 mm of rainfall on Saturday and 6mm on Sunday to bring the city to a halt. Within no time citizens were complaining of bad roads, potholes, over-flowing drains, flooding, stagnant water and the falling of trees and electric poles.
Experts pointed out that the most basic aspect of proper sink pits and clean drains were yet to be addressed.
There was a structural and design problem in the city's planning, especially of shoulder drains, said ABIDe member, Ashwin Mahesh. "The drains are rectangular and flat at the bottom. Ideally they should be cylindrical at the bottom to help the water flow faster. Instead of transporting the water to other places, which is presently happening, the BBMP should create sink pits at every 50-100 metres of the drain to recharge ground water. This is especially needed in low-lying areas," he explained.
He also said the drains should be constructed alongside the road, in between the footpath. "But instead BBMP is creating them after the footpath, between building's compound walls and footpaths. Also the inlets to lakes should be cleaned, rather than mere desilting of lakes," he said.
R Suresh, director, Public Affairs Centre, was of the view that Bangalore had enough technical expertise to manage its water and drainage systems. "The need of the hour is to creatively combine this technical quality with a social vision. General technologies for the management of water storage and runoff must be localised to the specific needs of each community that is affected by these natural calamities," said Suresh.
Civic analyst V Ravichandar pointed out that a cloudburst with concentrated rainfall in a short period would test the best infrastructure. "Bangalore has a lot of distance to go in fixing its roads and drains. There is no substitute for continuously plugging away at fixing the road geometry, removing decayed trees, and keeping drains clear of debris and garbage. BBMP needs to accept the responsibility and ensure this is done and penalise officers who fail in their duty. Citizens also need to play their part by not encroaching drains or using them as garbage dump yards. BBMP has to encourage citizen participation," said Ravichandar.
Mayor SK Nataraj, however, said, "We are 100% ready to tackle the rain havoc with control rooms and well-equipped Prahari vehicles."
He added that flooding had reduced over the years, but could not be completely stopped as it was a part of development and happened in low-lying areas.


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