Bengaluru Buzz: City under water | Lake water undrinkable | Hesaraghatta status… and more

Weekly news recap: Sorry state of Bengaluru roads after rains; the latest on Hesaraghatta; AAP protests against Shivananda Flyover work and more

Yellow alert, second wettest August

The meteorological department has issued an yellow alert for the city, as more rains are predicted for the coming days. This year the city experienced the second wettest August, as the city observatory of the IMD (India Meteorological Department) recorded 369.9 mm of rainfall, second only to 1998’s recording of 387.1 mm.

Traffic got crippled on ORR (Outer Ring Road) due to Savalakere lake overflowing. About two to three feet of water on the ORR from Silk Board junction to Bellandur, Marathahalli and Sarjapura Road stopped two-wheeler riders. Hundreds of employees working in and around RMZ Ecospace on the ORR faced peak-hour traffic. ORRCA (ORR Companies Association), representing major IT and banking companies on the ORR stretch, estimated losses of about Rs 225 crore on August 30th.

Rainwater from overflowing lakes and drains flooded over 100 homes in southern and southeastern parts of the city. Citizens sailed on rafts. At some places, the level went upto seven feet. Halanayakanahalli Lake was overflowing and worsened the situation at Rainbow Drive Layout on Sarjapur Road. The BBMP control room received complaints of flooding in Anugraha Layout near Bilekahalli.

There were floods in over 35 houses in Gokul Nagar, over a dozen houses at Doddanekkundi, and a few houses at JP Nagar 5th Phase, Puttenahalli and HSR Layout 6th Sector. The underpass near the Binny Mill Circle and the flyover linking Manyata Tech Park to the ORR witnessed water stagnation for some time. About 200 inundated, temporary pourakarmika settlements near BEML Layout got temporary shelter.

Aravind Limbavali, MLA of Mahadevapura Constituency, had announced that the major roads department of BBMP would construct a drain in the public-private model to carry rainwater from the layout to the culvert in Sarjapur. Scientists and ecologists say that natural canals along the Vrishabhavathi valley, Koramangala valley, Challaghatta valley and Hebbal valley have been blocked due to urbanisation, so floodwater cannot flow through them, leading to the situation witnessed in the city over the past week.

Source: The Hindu, Deccan Herald, The Indian Express

Read more: Managing drains: How BBMP ignores its own guidelines

Lake water unfit for drinking: KSPCB

Due to untreated sewage and industrial effluents, not a single lake out of 105 in the city is fit to be a drinking water source, said a water quality analysis report by the KSPCB (Karnataka State Pollution Control Board). Out of 1,456 mld of sewage, which is being generated in the city everyday, only 50% is treated by the sewage treatment plants. So the major reason behind the pollution is 80% sewage and 20% industrial effluents, according to sources.

Source: The Indian Express

Hesaraghatta’s conservation status hangs in the air

On September 5th, the Karnataka State Wildlife Board will discuss a proposal to declare the 5,000-acre Hesaraghatta grasslands as a conservation reserve, following the High Court setting aside the board’s rejection of last year’s proposal. Conservationist Vijay Nishanth had petitioned the court, questioning the rejection without discussion. On August 29th, conservationists gathered around the Hesaraghatta lake and demanded its notification as a conservation reserve.

Hesaraghatta grasslands
File photo of Hesaraghatta grasslands. Pic: Mahesh Bhat

Earlier, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa had rejected the proposal for a conservation reserve. The Congress-JD(S) government too had decided to move a film city under the Hesaraghatta area, but it was opposed by ecologists, who said that the grasslands had become breeding grounds for rare birds such as greater spotted eagles, lesser floricans, slender loris and smooth-coated otters. An online petition on has drawn endorsement from 44,000 people.

Source: The Indian Express, Deccan Herald

SC rules against Ganesha Chaturthi in Idgah maidan

The Supreme Court ruled against the use of Idgah Maidan for Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations. The judges said that the land had never been used for any other purpose for 200 years. But parties can agitate their issues or questions before the Single Bench of the High Court on September 23rd.

Karnataka Police on Wednesday deployed about 1,500 police personnel in the Idgah Maidan. About120 Rapid Action Force personnel, 100 special ammunition experts and 10 platoons of the Karnataka State Reserve Police (KSRP) were also put in place. However, the Chamarajanagar Citizens’ Forum said that it will continue and win its legal battle and celebrate Ganeshotsav there later.

On the other hand, Maulana Maqsood Imran, Imam of Jamia Masjid, said they will continue to fight for land ownership. Besides offering prayers on Ramzan and Bakrid, he said the ground should be a public space, but they did not wish any other religious activity.

Source: The Hindu, Deccan Herald, The Indian Express

Read more: Residents to protest against Shivananda Circle grade separator

Shivananda flyover work faces flak

The flyover from Shivananda Circle was recently opened partially to the public, but faced a lot of criticism for poor quality of work. Former Police Commissioner and AAP leader Bhaskar Rao said that each joint seemed like a speed breaker. A resident tweeted that the bouncy and rickety flyover doesn’t ease traffic, but has reduced pavements, eaten away a few crores and many trees, but “now we have a structure we cannot use”.

AAP (Aam Aadmi Party) members were on Monday briefly taken into custody, after they set up a banner on the steel flyover, accusing the BJP government of pocketing 40% commission while building it. AAP Bengaluru unit chief Mohan Dasari said the flyover work, from Shivananda circle to Race Course Road, was started at a cost of Rs 19 crore and has been completed at Rs 39 crore after seven years.

AAP members gathered to protest against the poor quality of work on Shivananda Flyover
AAP members protest poor quality of work on Shivananda flyover. Pic Credit: Facebook/Mubarakkuddin E K (AAP member)

The construction had faced opposition and several legal hurdles. Calling the project a ‘40% commission flyover’, members said that the cost of many projects has escalated by four times the initial estimate, as the BJP deliberately delayed them.

Source: The Indian Express

No to two-wheelers parking under flyovers during rains

The BTP (Bengaluru Traffic Police) will penalise two-wheeler drivers parking their vehicles and taking shelter under underpasses and flyovers during rains, on the charge of obstructing traffic. The announcement was made after four cases were registered in the last two months, when two-wheeler riders and pedestrians suffered serious injuries under underpasses. 

First-time offenders will be fined Rs 500 and if the violation is repeated, a case will be booked under IPC Section 283. During the rains, motorists from behind cannot see those parked on the roads due to dull lighting and rainfall. Hence, even if drivers brake as soon as they see the parked vehicles, they cannot stop immediately, said B.R. Ravikanthe Gowda, Joint Commissioner (Traffic).

Source: The Hindu

Compiled by Revathi Siva Kumar

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