Bengaluru: Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had the real taste of Bengaluru on Wednesday. Right from stinking storm water drain to the BMTC bus, which he boarded to go on an inspection of the city, not starting right in the middle of a road, and travelling on pothole filled roads and traffic jams, he experienced it all.
These experiences seemed enough for the chief minister to realise how Bengaluru has been reduced to a deplorable state.
CM covers his nose
The chief minister and his convoy started the inspection around 3 pm in a BMTC Volvo from his official residence Krishna. The first stop was Kumbara Gundi off J.C. Road. Mr Siddaramaiah, who immediately could not cope with the heavy stink, initially covered his nose with the shalya.
Chickpet MLA R.V. Devaraj and former corporator Dhanraj briefed the chief minister about the condition in the area. BBMP Commissioner Manjunath Prasad explained that
the area was flooded during recent rains as a 90 degree diversion in the SWD is pushing the water back during heavy rains. “If we have to avoid flooding, we have to bring down three buildings, for which permission had been granted during the tenure of Devaraj Urs," he said.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah immediately asked the officials concerned to bring down the three buildings by paying the owners and taking necessary steps.
Shanthinagar BMTC bus depot
His convoy next stopped at the Shanthinagar bus depot, which was inundated several times since August 14, when the city started experiencing heavy rains. Engineers explained that the storm water drain and the bus depot are at the same level leading to flooding. He asked engineers to find a suitable solution.
Shanthinagar MLA N.A. Haris complained that works are not going on in full speed and requested for more funds, for which Mr Siddaramaiah said, “Have some patience. We have granted Rs 15 crore.”
AC fails, convoy stuck in traffic
From Shanthinagar, he headed to HSR Layout. As the bus he boarded had some technical glitch and the AC didn't work, he changed to another BMTC Volvo bus. Officials, including Byrathi Basavaraj, slammed BMTC employees for getting such a bus for the CM’s inspection.
At Wilson Garden, the convoy was stuck in traffic for a few minutes. ?Again at Doddanekundi, the chief minister had to bear the brunt of traffic jams.?
‘Will we live to see completed works?’
At HSR Layout, the chief minister was flooded with complaints from residents. Ms Meena, a resident, said, “We have not had a good night’s sleep since August 15. We are staying here for the past 15 years. Our houses were filled with water up to 5 feet. All our electrical items and cars are damaged. How are we supposed to live here?"
Mr Siddaramaiah said, “Of the 850 km of SWD network, we have taken up remodelling of 400 km at a cost of Rs 800 crore, which is set to be completed by December. If this work had been done by previous governments, the condition of Bengaluru would not have been this worse.”
Residents complained that the BWSSB work is progressing at a snail's pace. They asked the CM whether they would be still alive to see all the works get completed.
Pai Layout, Ambedkar Nagar
The chief minister quickly inspected Pai Layout, which was flooded, and then headed to Ambedkar Nagar slum. After parking a line of cars and BMTC buses on the narrow and busy Ramamurthy Nagar Main Road, Mr Siddaramaiah walked down to Ambedkar Nagar slum and assured the slum dwellers of steps to avoid flooding. Some residents were angry that they were not allowed to speak to the chief minister and tell him about their complaints.
BMTC bus fails to start
In the already narrow Ramamurthy Nagar Main Road, BMTC Volvo bus in which the chief minister travelled did not start. Hundreds of vehicles that had piled up created a traffic gridlock. After almost 20-30 minutes, the vehicle started, but by then the chief minister had already cancelled his visit to Kalkere and zipped away in his car without addressing the media.