SOP's for urban flooding: Civic experts sceptic
Bengaluru: With monsoon setting in, the threat of flooding in low-lying areas of Bengaluru is a major concern. To deal with it, the Union Ministry of Urban Development has issued guidelines, which lay down markers for early warning, disaster management and long-term prevention of flooding.
“Unplanned development and encroachments have interfered with the natural flow of watercourses and rivers. Because of this, the runoff has increased causing floods. New and intensified phase of urbanisation during 2001-2011, coupled with spatial expansion of urban extents have compounded flood risk in urban centres,” warns the ‘Urban Flooding: Standard Operating Procedure’, published by the ministry.
Bengaluru has seen devastating floods almost every monsoon because of dilapidated underground drains, clogged storm water drains and encroachments of rajakaluves.
The Union ministry specifies that the local administration has to set up emergency operations centres at corporation offices and in municipal wards. The agency concerned should drain flood water and remove any impediments to free movement of water on roads. It should handle the repair, restoration and relaying of roads and also maintain storm water drains.
According to civic expert Ashwin Mahesh, just coming out with a set of SOPs is not enough. “SOPs have to be accompanied by preventive measures. For example, the shoulder drains along the side of the road should have soak pits that will absorb a certain quantity of water and the remaining water can travel in the drain to another soak pit 100 metres away and so on an so forth.”
Mr Mahesh says that not having proper preventive measures in place will only impede the efficacy of the SOPs.
Civic evangelist V. Ravichander says SOPS are very welcome, but the authorities should include tackling encroachment of primary and secondary storm water drains. “Firstly, encroachment of storm water drains should be tackled, followed by drain remodeling and desilting. Finally, the whole storm water drain network should be put up on Geographical Information System (GIS) maps.”
Mr Parmeshwaraiah, a BBMP Chief Engineer, Mahadevapura zone, said that the BBMP is well prepared to handle the monsoon and implement the SOPs. “We have 71 control rooms all over the city and have also mapped the city. We are well prepared to tackle the flooding during the monsoon season.”