Source : The Hindu, Tuesday, October 25, 2005.
Anil Kumar Sastry
Rainwater is getting choked on the outskirts of the city due to closure of drains
Vrishabhavathi river choked by silt, garbage and building waste
Many water-holding bodies in the city vanished due to encroachment
BANGALORE: When Mumbai was battered by more than 90 cm of torrential rain in 24 hours between July 26 and July 27, those at the helm of affairs in Karnataka boasted that Bangalore would never face such a problem as it is situated on gradients. However, a mere 12 cm of rainfall caught them unawares.
Vrishabhavathi river along Mysore Road has become another Mithi River of Mumbai, as it is severely choked by silt, garbage and building waste. Its flow is affected at various places as its banks have been encroached upon.
One has to pay the price for defying the forces of nature, and the warnings of town planners against unplanned growth have become true. The affected areas of Saturday's rain are concentrated around the so-called IT Corridor that witnessed mushrooming of hundreds of unauthorised layouts and commercial establishments.
Authorities concerned and residents blame it on overflowing of Madiwala, Begur, Puttenahalli, Nagawara and other tanks. The blame has to be shared equally by the regulatory authorities and people who built their houses/buildings flouting norms.
Except HSR Layout and parts of JP Nagar, all other areas affected by the downpour, were neither developed by BDA nor approved by it.
Another strange fact to be noted is that areas in Bangalore city, including the regularly inundated Ejipura, are not that affected. Planners point out that while rainwater from the city easily drained out, it got choked on the outskirts due to closure of drains and unplanned development.
They also feel that many water-holding bodies in the city vanished due to encroachment/ closure leading to heavy outflow of rainwater.
Former Chief Secretary A. Ravindra, who had also served as the Commissioner of BMP, said choking of storm water drains with silt, garbage etc., unplanned construction and closing of natural drainages are the main reasons for the disaster.
He said authorities concerned have neglected removing silt from storm water drains, leading to overflow of rainwater whenever it rains a little heavy. People also should be blamed as they constructed buildings wherever space was available, he said.