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3 killed, two missing in heavy rains in Bengaluru, woman rescued from submerged car

india Updated: Oct 15, 2017 08:39 IST
Vikram Gopal
Vikram Gopal
Hindustan Times, Bengaluru

Vehicles wade through a waterlogged road at Basaveshwara Nagar after heavy downpour flooded Bengaluru on Friday.(Kashif Masood/HT)

Heavy rains continued to lash Bengaluru leaving three people dead and two others missing as Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah said continuous downpour in the city prevented desiltation of storm-water drainages.

The body of Vasudev Bhat, a priest who was swept away in a storm-water drain on Friday night in Kurubarahalli area, which saw waterlogging, was recovered on Saturday morning by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).

Vasudev Bhat (35)

Shankarappa and wife Kamalamma died after the wall of their house fell on them in Kuruburahalli. The search for the 57-year-old Ningamma and her 22-year-old daughter Pushpa, who were swept away in a stormwater drain at Laggere after water from it flooded their house, was underway.

There were also instances of citizens coming to each other’s aid, as was witnessed in a video doing the rounds on social media.

A woman, who was stranded in a car floating on a waterlogged Mysuru road, was seen being rescued by bystanders.

Bengaluru mayor Sampath Raj said the unprecedented rain on Friday night had caused extensive damage. “So far, three persons have died and all efforts are on to locate two women who are missing,” he said.

According to the Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC), Bengaluru Urban district received 14 mm rain on Friday, which was 293% more than normal. The district has received 100% rainfall in excess since October 1.

Sunil Gavaskar, scientist at KSNDMC, said heavy rains were expected for another two days as a result of cyclonic conditions prevalent in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. “This has created a trough over Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka,” Gavaskar said.

Politics over tragedy

Chief minister Siddaramaiah, who toured rain-affected areas of the city with Bengaluru Development Minister K J George, visited Bhat’s house and promised to take care of the education of his children and also to provide employment to his wife.

Under criticism for the tardy progress on removing silt from storm water drains, the chief minister said this work could not be done because of the continuous rain that has been lashing the region.

“I am very pained by the deaths that have occurred after the rains last night. However, you should know that the state this year has received unprecedented rains. We had continuous rains for 47 days. Nobody should indulge in politics at such a time, but BJP leaders are making false allegations for political gains,” he said.

Shankarappa and wife Kamalamma died after the wall of their house fell on them in Kurubarahalli in Bengaluru on Friday. (Kashif Masood/HT)

Criticising the state government over these deaths and the four who had lost their lives in accidents related to potholes in the city, former chief minister and BJP’s state unit president BS Yeddyurappa on Saturday said the government had entrusted blacklisted contractors with the responsibility of maintaining the storm-water drains.

“Around 350 km of storm-water drains have been encroached upon,” Yeddyurappa said, holding the government responsible for water overflowing from the drains.

He said the government had released Rs 800 crore for work on storm-water drains that had now proved to be useless.

The BJP leader also announced a compensation of Rs 1 lakh to the kin of the deceased.

Former prime minister and JD(S) leader HD Deve Gowda took on the BJP, saying “they had not done any better when they were in power”.

Poor design and quality

Urban expert V Ravichandar blamed the poor design and quality of the roads and storm-water drains for the city’s problems.

“At such times we end up running for a quick fix. But these staccato fixes are not long-term solutions,” he said, adding that nobody is held accountable for bad planning.

Ravichandar said internationally, all the big cities had a protocol to deal with natural disasters. “But we do not have anything of this sort. History is just repeating as a farce.”

According to him, the only solution for Bengaluru’s woes was bipartisan consensus on urban planning issues.

(With agency inputs)

First Published: Oct 14, 2017 21:50 IST