Friday, July 19, 2024
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Flooding of roads in Bengaluru

R Kalyanasundaram

Recently the ST Bed and Eighty Feet road of 4th Block Koramangala were experiencing flooding due to the heavy rainfall in a single day. The misery was compounded by sewerage mixed with the storm water and entering the houses in the lower level of 4th Block. Now the Palike officials and others are trying to find solution. But have they analysed the root cause for this havoc?
When this layout was formed in 75-76, there was no problem, but why now? There are many reasons. 1) There were less number of houses and the amount of sewage is less. 2) The road level was much lower than what it is today. 3) Most of the platform area was uncovered.
Now let us analyse the present-day situation and the effect. There are more houses with many tenements. As a result, the sewage generated is more. Any sewerage system must be periodically cleaned. But what we observe is that cleaning of sewerage is done only on complaints. Even though BWSSB is considered to be doing a good job in comparison to other cities, they do not have any periodical maintenanceof the vast network. When there is a blockage, the water comes out where the level is the least. The man holes at higher level will have negligible chancesof spilling dirty sewer. Now the blockage is caused by the carelessness of the residents. When non- bio-degradable things (such as plastic pieces, candy wrappers, tampons etc) are flushed, they create the havoc sooner or later. Even without these, the sludge created by soap and oily substance washed out with eatables combining with the sand and soil particles can block the flow completely.
Survey of India has mapped the entire country and have provided vertical level markers (Bench marks) for every square meter. When BDA formed the layout, the road layouts are based on these bench mark levels. The roads are laid and the platforms are set (normally 9”) above the high point of the road centreline. The roads have their regular wear and tear and BBMP re-lays; But unfortunately, they never maintain the original level. When the residents complain they send some contractor who fills the hole and lay 2 to 3” of fresh layer. In course of four decades, the road level becomes higher than the floor level of the houses built earlier. When the storm water has no way to go, it finds its level inside the houses. If this practice is continued all the under passes will lose the clearance and trucks can get struck.
I have never seen any contractor or supervisor of BBMP checking the level with any instruments. There are very good and accurate instruments like “theodolite” and “Total station” to verify the levels. It is of utmost important that the road levels should be maintainedto preventfuture problems.
The earlier uncovered platform area acted as seepage source for recharging the ground water. Now with all the houses are covered, platforms concreted and tiled and roads covered, there is excess water to be handled by the storm water drains. Another sad case of residents’ money wastage is the tiling of the platforms. Initially the corporation concreted the platforms. Then they covered with tiles. Both were done without any proper thinking or planning. The final execution of tiling has given something like a roller coaster, with dipping at every house’s gate and raised level at other places. Within a year, most of the tiles are out of place due to the trees. The tiling has not reduced the silt going into the mori.
An all-round education to the residents regarding the upkeep of the sewerage. Annual maintenance (Thorough cleaning of sewerage) should be done by BWSSB. BBMP should use proper instruments to maintain the level of the roads, not increasing the level year after year. Some time back, BBMP sunk wells on the mori to harvest rain water.
This should be done more rigorously. BBMP should come out with a better plan of putting tiles and make the platform safer for the pedestrians especially senior citizens. Instead of making piece-meal solutions and fire-fighting at the time of crisis, they should call experts and arrive at proper permanent solutions with a realistic time schedule. These can really bring the old glory to our garden city.

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