This year’s monsoon has taken a heavy toll on the roads of Bengaluru. Even the much-hyped TenderSURE roads, which cost eight times more than a regular road, are not immune to waterlogging during the heavy showers. Although there are grated openings at regular intervals, these are clogged by twigs, stones, silt and other debris that block the free flow of water. The TenderSURE roads may have done wonders for the city’s aesthetic appeal but what is design without maintenance, asks Aknisree Karthik.
With the monsoon nearing, Bengalureans are hoping they will not see a repeat of the flooding that accompanies it every year. It wasn't too long ago that they saw unforgettable scenes of boats making their way through areas like Koramangala, Srinivagilu, and MLA Layout, evacuating people stranded in their flooded homes and of young boys fishing in the water that had entered busy roads, submerging them. The year was 2017 and like always, after the deluge subsided, the Mayor visited the affected areas accompanied by babus holding files and posed for photographs with the “rescued” families.
Most years, the Mayor also proceeds to reel out statistics on the work done and the amount spent to prevent a recurrence of the flooding before disappearing until the next disaster strikes.
For those who lost their properties in the 2017 floods, the indifference of the authorities is particularly hard to stomach as some even had to sell their cars after they were submerged in the water and damaged.
“After the rain receded we first pumped out all the water, which had entered the house, damaging the sofa, other furniture, the refrigerator and all electric gadgets. We had to replace them all and then call the mason and painter to repair our house,” recalled one of the victims of the flood, who had to sell his damaged car.
He like others ,who suffered in the flood, are hoping it will never assume such proportions again. But experts say unless the government wakes up to the causes , this may be easier said than done. According to them, one of the major reasons for the flooding the city sees regularly is the lack of connectivity among its surviving lakes and the reduction in the width of the storm water drains that serve it.
Said water expert from the Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Dr T V Ramachandra, “How big were the storm water drains in the past in the city ? Year after year, to please the builders’ mafia, officials have narrowed and concretised them. In areas like Kormangala the drains, which were 60 meters wide, have been reduced to 18.5 meters and in Bellandur, 45 meter wide drains have been reduced to 20 meter. When the elected representatives and babus work the mafia the common man has to pay the price.”
Dr Ramachandra also blames the white topping of roads as they prevent rain water from seeping into the ground. However, it’s not too late, in his view. To stop rain water from flooding low lying areas it is important to restore the connectivity between lakes, he emphasises.
“The BBMP needs to complete the storm water drain network for the whole city and stop giving the same excuses year after year. It needs to bring in accountability instead,” he underlined....