Bengaluru residents wrestle with water woes, officials clueless | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: Tempers ran high among residents who helplessly watched their belongings get damaged in swirling rain water on Sunday night even as BBMP officials admitted that there was little they could do given the infrastructure constraints given the massive deluge.
Residents blamed politicians, BBMP and BWSSB officials for the misery. “Politicians come to our doorstep and beg for votes, but cannot even provide us basic facilities,” Rathnamma Rajesh, a resident of Laggere, whose house was under knee-deep water. She lost all her groceries, sofa set, TV and clothes to the rain havoc.
Around 11.30pm, Shoba Chandra, a resident of Nagarbhavi, went from the first floor of her home to the ground floor to drink water. She suddenly realised the floor was wet and called her husband. “The entire house was filled with murky water and stinking,” said Shoba. “We called the BBMP helpline over 30 times but no one responded. We grabbed our buckets and mugs and began scooping out the water,” she said.
Poor management of stormwater drains (SWDs) is the primary reason for this mess, said Chandrashekar Pai, a resident of Kengeri. “BBMP gives nod to build homes near the drains and doesn’t build retaining walls to protect our houses from being flooded during monsoon,” he added.
Asked about poor infrastructure of the Vrishabhavathi Valley SWD along which most of Sunday night’s rain woes unravelled, a senior BBMP stormwater drain official said: “The drains are old and not built to withstand sudden, heavy rainfall of 110mm. They can handle only up to 70mm rainfall.” “SWDs were technically built to carry rainwater, but in Bengaluru, sewage also flows into them. We tried to increase the depth but found BWSSB sewage lines in most such drains. Many of these lines are leaking,” he explained.
Lakes in Vrishabhavathi Valley are not properly linked as connecting channels are blocked, leading to flooding, another official said. SWDs linked to Vrishabhavathi Valley are 140km long and only 46km have retaining walls. “We cannot build a retaining wall along the entire stretch. There are some portions of kutcha drains,” the official added.
He admitted BBMP has added to the problem. “Our revenue officers issue permission for construction of structures, which is why there are homes cropping in low-lying areas,” he said, adding: “Political pressure is the main reason for such damage. They promise houses to economically weaker section in the buffer zone and pressure officers to approve it.”

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Sagar Biswas

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