Govt charts rehabilitation plan for residents in flood-hit areas
Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai on Wednesday said that the government is working on a rehabilitation programme for those living in flood-affected areas in the city. Talking to reporters in Bengaluru, Bommai also said that a task force has been set up to fix the potholes in the city as well.
“There are at least two to three issues when it rains in Bengaluru. Low-lying areas get flooded, areas around lakes get marooned and stormwater drains overflow. Instead of acting when flooding takes place, we have asked the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) commissioner to find a permanent solution and to carry out rehabilitation works in these areas,” he said.
Elaborating on the rehabilitation plans, the chief minister said that a survey will be conducted to identify vulnerable areas and alternate land for those who will be rehabilitated.
BBMP commissioner Gaurav Gupta on Wednesday said that the civic agencies had identified 539 sensitive areas in the city last year and the numbers have been reduced to 185. Stating that low-lying areas are a concern he said, “There are nearly 750 major stormwater drains in the city. We have built retaining walls in about half of these SWDs. The wall prevents overflow of water during heavy rains and is a permanent solution to control any damages,” he said.
He further added that 63 control rooms at the sub-division level have been set up to address rain and flood-related damage and will be operational till October-end. Gupta also said that a disaster management plan has been prepared. A survey has also been taken up to access the extent of rain damage and what needs to be done, he added.
Bengaluru city on Sunday recorded the highest rainfall in October since 1997, as the withdrawing monsoon triggered a heavy downpour and thunderstorms that flooded several neighbourhoods. BS Nagaraj Dhanya, former secretary of the Bangalore Hotel Association and Karnataka Hotel Association, was killed in the downpour in the wee hours of Monday. Power cuts and waterlogging at several low-lying areas of the city was also reported. According to BBMP, 31 water logging complaints and instances of trees falling were reported in the city.
Bommai on Wednesday said that a task force has been created to fill the potholes on the roads. “They will look into the condition and repair history of all roads in Bengaluru and report. This will be the first part. The refilling of potholes and other repairs will take place at the same time. We have asked BBMP to finish these works in a scientific manner. We will finish the work of filling all potholes as soon as the rains are over,” the CM said.
When questioned why the work won’t be finished before monsoons are over, Bommai said that the priority was to have a permanent solution to the pothole problem. “From our experience so far, we know areas where there are (pothole) problems. So, we want to fix them properly,” he said.
Karnataka revenue minister on October 1 had said that that all roads in Bengaluru will be pothole-free in 30 days, setting another deadline, after many missed ones, to provide one of the most basic amenities to the residents. R Ashok, Karnataka’s minister for revenue and interim in-charge of Bengaluru city, said an additional ₹1,000 crore has been released for the purpose of fixing roads in the newly added localities of Bengaluru, where damaged roads have added to the nightmarish experience of residents, especially during monsoons.
The chief minister had even revealed in the upper house of the state legislature in the recently concluded monsoon session that the state government had spent ₹20,060 crore on various road works in Bengaluru in the last five years.
Bommai, who holds the Bengaluru portfolio, said that there were only 1,344 kms of roads out of the over 11,200 kms of roads that were motrable in the city, admitting to the one of the biggest infrastructural challenges gnawing at India’s IT capital for perpetuity.
Successive governments have often fallen back on the same excuse of “developing city” as a way to circumvent taking responsibility for its apathy on providing motorable roads without potholes, slush, dust and no life-threatening stretches.