Death as a result of flash flood in Bengaluru: What Siddaramaiah authorities should do

Once once more, Bengaluru is within the information for all of the flawed causes. Within 24 hours of the brand new Congress authorities being sworn in, the “Silicon Valley of India”, the nation’s main IT providers exporter, witnessed flash floods. On Sunday afternoon, a visiting techie lost her life in the city. Such incidents function a impolite reminder that we may be one of many fastest-growing cities on the earth, however we have now a variety of work to do if we need to hold our residents comfy and protected with an inexpensive high quality of life.

Urban flooding is a comparatively current phenomenon in all main cities. But the growing frequency of such incidents bears testimony to the truth that quickly rising cities reminiscent of Bengaluru should give attention to higher city planning whereas constructing their infrastructure. They will need to have a climate-resilience plan and catastrophe administration cell that can always monitor evolving conditions and proactively work to keep away from main injury to life and property, and cut back the influence on financial exercise.

July 2005, Mumbai; November 2015, Chennai; August 2019, Delhi NCR; November 2021, Chennai; September 2022, Bengaluru. The checklist is infinite — with growing frequency and alarming regularity. It is just within the final twenty years that city flooding and its linkages to city planning and governance have begun to be understood. Only after the deluge of rain in Mumbai in 2005 did the National Disaster Management Authority acknowledge city flooding as a separate catastrophe requiring particular preventive motion, totally different from riverine floods.

Successive governments have didn’t recognise the hardship confronted by residents. This is a wake-up name for the brand new authorities to take the initiative and instant steps in direction of the prevention of such incidents sooner or later.

No life needs to be misplaced due to insufficient info or data of flooding-related dangers. The previous week’s rain and the flooded underpasses introduced again horrifying recollections of the torrential downpour between September 4 and September 5, 2022, when town acquired 131.6mm of rain, bringing it to a grinding halt. The wet season for this 12 months has barely began and we have now already seen a tragic life misplaced to civic apathy.

Before one other catastrophe strikes, there needs to be an instantaneous and widespread marketing campaign that educates residents on the dos and don’ts. No citizen would wantonly put their life in peril in the event that they perceive the related threat of shifting by way of flooded roads and underpasses. The metropolis should alert residents — by way of radio, voice messages on telephones and different means — in regards to the precautions they have to take together with areas to keep away from, and advisories to not drive by way of flooded underpasses and/or roads. All it takes is as little as two ft of water to trigger automobiles to stall.

Citizens should perceive that even when the water seems shallow, it could possibly be deeper and there could also be hidden risks, reminiscent of lacking manhole covers, that might trigger injury to automobiles and end in passenger fatality. They also needs to be made conscious that in extreme storms/rains, an underpass can go from regular to flooded inside minutes. Intense rain could cause the drainage system to flood, amassing giant swimming pools of water in an underpass. Vehicles coming into a flooded underpass can grow to be partially submerged.

The authorities ought to determine all underpasses and set up monitoring and alarm techniques that can present well timed warnings of potential flooding and consequently cease the passage of automobiles and pedestrian motion. Traffic needs to be stopped routinely when the hydrometric thresholds set by the authorities are exceeded with no need to cross by way of a central management centre. Additionally, the contemporaneous presence of a number of sensors and a webcam for visible monitoring will alert residents of the approaching hazard of flooding. These techniques needs to be interfaced with electrical pumps that constantly pump out extra water and supply for its protected runoff with correct drainage. Any new underpass constructed needs to be higher designed with larger drainage capability and higher and sooner run-off services along with the aforementioned automated water degree monitoring techniques.

In the quick time period, the map of lake beds and surrounding buffer zones of town needs to be publicised to warn residents earlier than they make an actual property buy or dedication. This will go a great distance in making certain that harmless owners don’t endure due to info asymmetry between the true property builders and authorities whose approvals are relied upon earlier than residents make actual property purchases. There should even be strict imposition of fines and penalties for indiscriminate dumping of stable waste and development particles, which forestall rainwater runoff.

In the medium time period, the next steps have to be taken: Increasing city inexperienced cowl in a focused method and enhancing permeability; rejuvenating town’s lake techniques; placing a cease to unplanned and uncontrolled densification past town’s infrastructural capability; stopping unauthorised development, and permitting development in low-lying areas solely after instituting flood mitigation measures.

Rejuvenating the present Storm Water Drain (SWD) community, which incorporates figuring out the peripheral areas of town which have grown quickly and haphazardly with the absence of stormwater drains in lots of localities, addressing the poor upkeep of current stormwater drains resulting in their clogging with silt and rubbish, elimination of encroachments on the rajakaluves are all measures that can show fruitful.

While the injury already finished is critical, all is just not misplaced.

The K100, also called the Citizens’ Waterway Project, is a 28.06-km mannequin stormwater drain rejuvenation challenge consisting of 11.4 km of main drain and 16.66 km of secondary drains. It has been taken up as a pilot as a part of the bigger challenge to rejuvenate town’s 850 km SWD system of which 400 km are rajakaluves or main stormwater drains. The K100 originates from Shanthala Silks close to the erstwhile Dharmabuddhi Lake (now Majestic/Kempegowda bus stand) and drains into Bellandur Lake. Just two years in the past, the K100 Rajakaluve was like a garbage-clogged sewer. But because the rejuvenation challenge nears completion, the sewage has diminished to 10 megaliters per day (mld) general from 130 mld. It has given renewed hope to residents that there could possibly be mild on the finish of the tunnel for town’s stormwater drain mess.

This needs to be quickly replicated for the whole 850 km SWD community, very like the famed “TenderSure Roads” which have grow to be a defacto aspirational design commonplace for street design in lots of cities within the nation.

The K100 is a well-conceived challenge that makes an attempt to reframe town’s stormwater drains from mere “grey infrastructure” to creating an ecological hall with the lively involvement of residents with the potential to revive some conventional water techniques and reconnect town to its water heritage. More importantly, as soon as carried out throughout the whole SWD community, it’ll cut back the risks of city flooding considerably.

We hope the change in authorities and politics doesn’t stall this essential challenge. If that occurs it might be an actual pity.

All the above options have been nicely mentioned in numerous boards and options are well-known. The newly-elected authorities ought to reveal robust political will and bias in direction of pressing, time-bound motion on the above. Appointment of a Minister for Bangalore Development and calling for the municipal elections on the earliest are crucial to foster higher governance, participation and accountability.

The author is Managing Trustee, Bangalore Political Action Committee

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