A short spell of heavy rain can bring the city to its knees as motorists and pedestrians are forced to put up with flooded roads and underpasses, overflowing drains, uprooted trees and fallen tree branches. Monsoon woes cause misery to not just citizens who are often caught mid-commute, but also the civic authorities, especially the traffic police.
Ahead of monsoon, the traffic police had identified 44 spots across the city that were prone to flooding, a safety hazard to motorists especially those riding two-wheelers. In a letter to Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Commissioner N. Manjunath Prasad in April, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) P. Harisekharan had stated that flooding was compounding the problems of commuters, as it results in traffic jams and slow movement of vehicles.
Nearly two months after the traffic police sent the list, the civic body has taken up dredging in some places. Senior civic officials told that of the 44 places identified by the traffic police, only 32 fall under its purview.
The remaining 12 came under various other agencies, such as the National Highways Authority of India, Karnataka Road Development Corporation Ltd., Bangalore Development Authority, and Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd.
Some of the areas identified by the police include Ambedkar Colony, Ramamurthynagar Main Road; Lowry railway underpass; Veerannapalya down ramp on Outer Ring Road; Bagalur Main Road; Laggere bus stand; Nandini Layout; Goraguntepalya; Hebbal; below Doddanekkundi flyover; Pai Layout, Old Madras Road; Cantonment railway station underpass and Rajajinagar underpass.
“We have permanently solved the problem of flooding in 20 spots. In the remaining 12, there are some infrastructure and development projects, including signal-free corridors and white topping, that are under progress or are being planned. Once these works are completed, the problem of flooding will be addressed,” said BBMP officials.
Most of the locations identified by the traffic police needed dredging of the road-side drains. Ironically, the BBMP had claimed to have taken up several measures ahead of the monsoon, including intensive cleaning of storm-water drains to increase their carrying capacity and to prevent clogging.
Civic officials, apart from identifying 246 low-lying areas that are prone to flooding, had also claimed to have taken up technical measures, such as installing pumps to prevent flooding, and formed teams in each of the eight zones to take up relief measures wherever required.
However, the letter by Mr. Harisekharan seemed to point to the lack of any preparedness on part of the BBMP.
Earlier this year, the traffic police formed 44 special teams to ease traffic movement during any rain-related eventuality. These teams are equipped with motorised saws, ropes, choppers, buckets, and other implements to attend to flooding and clear fallen trees.