How prepared is Bengaluru to deal with monsoon?

A team of officials in BBMP is ready to handle any rain problems, 24X7, with a temporary control room of 64 emergency numbers for each wards. What other steps has the BBMP undertaken to face rains this year?

Water flooded through an open footpath near Shivananda Circle, during the rain that lashed the city in May 3rd week. Pic: Shree D N

The heavy rains that lashed Bengaluru in last two weeks caused havoc in the city. The flooded homes, waterlogged streets, uprooted trees, deaths, only reflected the unpreparedness of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to handle the rains.

The rain on May 14th claimed the lives of two due to a wall collapse in Johnson Market. The following week, heavy rains flooded several areas including three slum pockets in Bommanahalli. Roads in Hosakerehalli were flooded due to over flowing of storm water drain. All these events once again exposed the poor drain system in Bengaluru and how unprepared the city is, for the rains, like every year.

As expected, the BBMP’s control rooms were flooded with distress calls from citizens. And the Palike which had failed to take preventive measures, got into crisis management mode.

As we step into June and the monsoon only a few days away, the BBMP is yet to take measures to prevent any untoward event happening due to rains.

Major concern being the water clogged roads that leads to flood and traffic jams, the BBMP’s Storm Water Drain section which is responsible to desilt the SWDs, is yet to finish the desilting work.

Only 40% of desilting over

When this reporter spoke to Siddegowda, Chief Engineer of SWD, he said that 40 per cent of desilting work was completed, while the work on remaining portion was underway. “We have finished desilting 87 km so far and have removed 1.30 lakh cubic metres of silt,” he said.

When asked whether it wasn’t too late to desilt, considering that monsoon may enter any moment and pre-monsoon showers have already made the entry, he said: “the work is going on in full speed” and they are confident of completing the desilting work soon.

Also, the SWD section has identified 224 high flood prone areas this year. With around 75 such areas identified areas last year, the total number of high flood prone areas that the BBMP has identified is 299. “Of this, we have already fixed the issues in 252 locations and the work is in progress in remaining places,” Siddegowda said, adding that they are also examining the locations where flood occurred during recent rains.

It is the responsibility of the ward-wise engineers to undertake desilting work in minor drains, says Palagappa, Joint Commissioner, West Zone. In his zone, he says the work on desilting small drains is completed and the desilting of larger drains is carried out by SWD section.

It could be recalled that in the last week of June 2016, the incessant rains caused severe damage near Madivala lake and Kodichikkanahalli and Bilekahalli area, in the form of flood. Boats were deployed to help people move out to safety. Following this, the State government decided to clear the storm water drain encroachments and 1,923 encroachments were identified in BBMP limits.

Storm water drain problem not fixed fully

According to a news report, while the issue in Madivala lake has been fixed, by constructing an enclosure that holds treated sewage and flood water coming in from Sarakki and Hulimavu, the issue in Kodichikkanahalli is not yet fixed. The encroachment eviction in Kodichikkanahalli took place soon after the flood last year. In fact, Kodichikkanahalli area was the worst-affected by rains. However, even after a year of clearing the encroachment, the drain has not been fixed, making the area vulnerable to flood this year too.

This apart, another task that the BBMP is expected to take into account before monsoon is, identifying weak trees and compound walls that are vulnerable to rain. According to an official, in a recent meeting BBMP Commissioner has vested all responsibility of rain-related issues to the zonal commissioners.

A long-pending demand to construct small bunds around weak trees to strengthen them has not materialised. Joint Commissioner (West) says tha the forest department has identified weak trees and has pruned/trimmed them, but not cut them or constructed bunds. “We cannot really predict which tree will fall. Even those trees that appear good and strong too sometimes tumble due to heavy wind,” he points.

Control rooms

The BBMP has set up 63 temporary control rooms, one in every sub-division. M R Venkatesh, Chief Engineer (BBMP) says that main control rooms are already available in each zonal office and one control room in the head office.

“We have provided men and materials to these control rooms and they will function from May 20th, 2017 to August 31st, 2017. Five to eight trained staff are deployed in each control room. Citizens call the control room to seek help or complain about flood, tree fall or any accident that has happened due to rain,” he said.

The BBMP has allocated a lakh per month to each control room and has mandated that the control room should have equipment like tractor, pumpset, pickaxe, axe, hammers and JCB if required.

The emergency helpline numbers are available on the BBMP website, but they are not in  an internet-friendly, usable format. We have tried to list most of them for you below.

List of temporary help numbers/ control rooms in Bengaluru

Dasarahalli zonal office: Marula Siddappa K : 080 28394909/ 080 28393688/ 080 22975904/ 9480684553

Dasarahalli subdivision: Rangaswamy E – 9880161239 / 080 28370676

Hegganahalli subdivision: Raja M M – 9480683049 / 080 28365005

Peenya Industrial Estate subdivision:Prakash M Dhareshwar – 9480683062

Shettihalli subdivision: Jayalingappa B L – 9480040137 /

West zone: 080-23463366/ 080-23561692 / 080 22975648

Chief Engineer: Vishwanath – 9480684268

Chandra Layout: B K Dineshkumar – 080-23181377/ 7411866716

Govindarajanagara: 080 23208615/ 080 23463366 / 9480683409

Malleshwaram Subdivision: Harish Kumar – 08022975618 / 9686682555

Mattikere Subdivision: Harish M K – 080 23602215 / 9743746087

Mahalakshmipuram subdivision: G T Dhananjay – 080-22975622 / 9480685344

Nagapura Subdivision: T C Ravikumar – 080-23197031 / 9448676356

Rajajinagara Subdivision: Puttaswamy – 080-23329462 / 9480315555

Sriram Mandir Subdivision: L Geetha – 080-22975624 / 9480685213

Cottonpet Subdivision: Praveen kumar T K – 080 22975620 / 7259293100

Gandhinagar subdivision: Y M Raju – 080-22975619 / 9480685030

Jagajeevan Ram Nagara Subdivision – 26741624/ 8861368882

Chamarajpet subdivision: Revana Siddesh – 080-26753917/ 9448697391

East Zone: 080 22975648 / 080 25588242

Shantinagara : R Nagaraj -9480684307

Shivajinagara: Saifuddin (I/C EE) – 9480683023

C V Raman Nagar: Amruthakumar (EE) – 9611147016

Pulikeshi Nagar: Neelakantaiah (Incharge EE) –  9480685813

Sarvagnanagar: Mohan Gowda (EE) – 9480685418

Hebbala : Mohan Hodadakere (EE) – 9480685234

Mahadevpura zone: 28460055 / 23636677/ 080 28512300

K R Puram subdivision: Paramesh Gowda – 9900616200/ 944881669/

Whitefield subdivision: 080-28546225 / 9916233999 / 9449673066 / 9611501789

Marathahalli subdivision: Venkatesh – 9448771709

Horamavu subdivision: M Venkateshappa – 080-25315518 / 9480684576

Hoodi subdivision : 080-41231188 / 9060000612 / 9844207079 / 9243411114

HAL Airport subdivision: Bhagyamma MS – 080 255222013 / 9480685432

Bommanahalli zone: 080-25732447

Begur subdivision: B Ashok Kumar – 080-25745275 / 9448052546

RBI Layout area: M Basavaraju – 080-26852675 / 9480684578

Subramanyapura area: M B Jayakumar – 080-26390837 / 9620139928

Arakere: Giri Shetty / Thambras – 080-41479797/ 9480684712 / 9845076145

HSR Layout division: M K Venkatesh – 9480685445 / 9535563588 / 973939556

South Zone: 080-26566365

Full list is here.

Rajarajeshwari Nagar Zone – 080 28602554/ 080 28600954

Herohalli: T M Shaashikumar – 9480683742

Kengeri: K Venkatesh – 9448106343

Rajarajeshwari Nagar – Nanjappa – 080 28604652 / 8105230505 /  9980479191

Yeshwanthpura – 9900170873

Yelahanka Zone : 080 23636677

The contact numbers of control rooms are also available here.

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  1. Alina Parashar says:

    the government should fastened the work they have been doing and therefore should complete their work before the monsoon knocks the door is about to open. the bbmp should we well prepared and they should fastened their seat belts.

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