Monsoon – Is Benglauru really prepared to face the coming Monsoon season. With so many works under process one can imagine the plight of people during monsoon.
Even the best planned cities in the world may not be able to withstand nature’s fury, but all it takes for Bengaluru to crumble is just one rain.
If the havoc wreaked by the pre-monsoon showers recently is any indication, the actual rainy season is certain to be a real hell, due to the complete lack of preparedness.
Pre-monsoon showers, which saw houses flooded, traffic disrupted, trees and electric poles crashing and roads developing pot holes has already given Bengalureans a taste of things to come this monsoon season.
Same problems – every monsoon season :
Rapid urbanization lead to depletion of grasslands, draining of lakes, etc. The population growth happened un-proportional to the Infrastructure growth.
Pothole-riddled roads, sewage-infested lakes, stinking primary drains, slushy garbage floating on the sides of the roads and people buying boats to navigate roads which have turned into rivers.
This was Benglauru in a nutshell after monsoon had wreaked havoc in the city in recent years.
Every year it is an all too familiar story of flooding, falling trees and power outages, but the civic and utility agencies rarely take precautionary measures. They will be caught totally unawares when the skies open up.
With its waving topography, Bengaluru should never have faced the problem of flooding, but unplanned growth and illegal constructions have hindered the free flow of water to the hundreds of lakes that once dotted the city.
Are Storm water drains Monsoon ready?
Work on building walls for storm water drains was stopped due to election code of conduct. This has also hampered the efforts to conduct survey to identify old and vulnerable trees.
Bengaluru has approximately 842 kms storm water drain network built specifically to avert flood. Only 300 to 400 kms. Of this network has permanent walls which are necessary to prevent rainwater from overflowing on to streets.
The reason for flooding in choking of road side drains with debris and silt. The BBMP removes silt from roadside drains but the silt remains. This leads to usual flooding of roads.
Drains lack walls and overflowing lakes :
Building walls are one problem whereas silt accumulation is another. This has reduced the carrying capacity of drains.
The existing lakes do not have the holding capacity as they have not been de-silted for years, leading to overflowing and consequent flooding.
Accumulation of silt has reduced the water storage capacity of the lakes in the city. Even a short spell of rain can result in choked and overflowing drains. The city’s drains cannot take heavy rain.
Falling trees :
Once upon a time, Bengaluru was known for its green cover. But the green cover is its most vulnerable and dangerous commodity when it pours.
Falling trees can cause huge damage. They cut out power lines and falling trees causes blocked roads.
The BBMP has handed over the task to forest cell to identify and secured old and vulnerable trees. but conducting a tree survey is a time consuming job and requires co-ordination among different organisations.
BESCOM and BWSSB’s contribution :
The contribution of the water and electricity supply agencies, BWSSB and BESCOM, to the mess is also in no meagre measure. Though monsoon is round the corner, BWSSB is still continuing with its digging activities in many areas.
While BBMP fails to remove weak, old and dead trees in advance, BESCOM’s inefficiency in pruning branches that touch electric lines is one of the reasons for power failure at the first sign of rain.
Reasons for traffic jams during monsoon period :
People tend to take the main roads to avoid the shorter routes as they get water logged and are not really safe. This increases the vehicle destiny sharply on the road.
There are trucks and other large vehicles on the same roads which take much of the area and they move quite slow as well.
The rains in here are usually accompanied by strong winds causing trees or branches to be uprooted. This blocks a significant part of the road.
People are cautious and tend to drive slower when it rains so even if the roads are clear the vehicles move slowly.
Water logging : a good chuck of already over burdened roads are rendered useless due to water logging.
Areas underneath flyover act as a shelter for two wheelers from rain. Many vehicles parked causes congestion.
Low visibility and safety concerns result in slow driving.
White topping of roads is a major concern in monsoon season :
A new scheme White-Topping under which it was planned to concretize all major arterial roads of the city is still going on. The lack of planning resulted in a very haphazard construction under the scheme.
There are certain two-way roads, only half of those are completed the rest of the half are still dug which will result in further inconvenience to citizens. Even few showers can result in flash floods and bring the entire city to a halt. Sadly, rain readiness begins as the rainy season begins.
Why is the cleaning works not done on a regular basis, when a full team is employed to do such works.
The rains will come and go. What we have seen, also, is that governments that promise to improve the infrastructure, clean up the city, and make Bengaluru ‘world-class’ also come and go.
But, for the most part, they don’t have the technical competence to develop the city, the administrative diligence to accompany it, or the political will to actually serve the public. On that front, it has been raining for decades.
Last year several rain-related deaths were reported in the city because of unpreparedness of the authorities.