Karnataka CM inspects rain affected areas
Residents point to faulty drains, blockages, and lack of coordination between civic agencies, utilities
Faulty drain network, sewage let into the drains, difference in levels impeding the flow of water in the drains and most importantly, lack of coordination between the different civic agencies and utilities — these were some of the reasons cited by the residents of HSR Layout for the chronic flooding issue.
Early on the morning of October 18, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, accompanied by a posse of officials from the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB), inspected HSR Layout and surrounding areas. These areas were badly affected due to the rains that lashed during most of last week, with water inundating several homes, apart from stagnating on many roads.
During an interaction with Mr. Bommai, residents pointed to the need for a separate drain for the localities surrounding Agara Lake. They also urged him to direct officials to take stringent action against a developer for allegedly blocking a portion of the main drain between HSR Layout and Bellandur. Several complaints to the tahsildar and BBMP in this regard had yielded no result, they alleged.
While one resident pointed to increasing illegal constructions, G.S. Krishnamurthy from the Federation of HSR Layout RWAs said that the main drain in the locality needed to be strengthened, apart from increasing its capacity. He also stated that the lack of shoulder drains was compounding the flooding issue. Many residents urged Mr. Bommai to ensure proper coordination between the civic agencies and utilities.
Speaking to reporters later, the Chief Minister underscored the need for permanent solutions to the flooding issue. “This is a low-lying area and this is what happens when one interferes with flow of water. The town has been built without any town planning… the load on the existing drains has increased with the increase in the number of layouts and homes that have come up,” he said.
He also pointed out that the underground drainage lines were lower than the main drains, which was one of the reasons for sewage not flowing properly. He directed officials concerned to not just increase the capacity of the existing drains, but also take up level correction apart from constructing a parallel drain specifically for the localities that are prone to flooding. The BBMP officials have been directed to complete this work within four to five months.
Mr. Bommai also noted that the sewage treatment plant at Agara Lake was not working at its full capacity. Though 35 million litres per day could be treated, the plant was treating only 20 million litres per day. Treated water was also being let out into the drain. “This is counter-productive. The treated water should be let into the lakes”, he added. The officials have also been directed to increase storage capacity of the water bodies, as part of the flood mitigation plan.
He said that the BWSSB’s STP at Madiwala Lake of 4 MLD capacity was also not functioning. The officials have been directed to ensure the plant is functioning at its full capacity within four months, which will prevent sewage flow into the drains.
Admitting to the lack of coordination between BBMP, BWSSB and other civic agencies and utilities, the Chief Minister said that a structure for regular coordination meetings would be put in place.
“I have instructed officials to draw up a master plan to prevent sewage flow into the storm water drain network and for removal of bottlenecks in the main drain,” he said.
With regard to the allegation of a developer blocking the drain, he directed BBMP Chief Commissioner Gaurav Gupta to verify the plan and check for violations.
Asked about the potholes across the city, he said a special inspection and meeting would be held to discuss the issue. He said that the BBMP has not been able to fill the potholes owing to continuous rains. “However, I have directed BBMP to take up the pothole filling work on a war footing,” he said.