Against the backdrop of recent rains and deluge in Bengaluru, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Tuesday assured the government will ensure time-bound completion of the stormwater drain work that is underway across the city and provide more funds for this purpose.
Speaking in the Legislative Assembly, he highlighted that the ongoing work of clearing encroachments along the stormwater drains was taking time and the government is at it.
Also, the master plan for stormwater drains is being redrawn to increase its capacity, he said.
“Work on developing stormwater drains across the city is underway and the work will continue without any break. I have kept Rs 1,500 crore in the budget for this and recently I have given another Rs 300 crore, so it is a total of Rs 1,800 crore for stormwater drains. This will not be enough and an additional budget will be given,” Bommai said.
He said the government will ensure that a total 859.90 kilometres of stormwater drain work gets completed. “It may take two years, but we will provide a ‘continuous’ budget for it and complete the work.” “There is already a master plan for stormwater drains, it needs to be improved further and redrawn with things like increasing carrying capacity, developing secondary and tertiary drains among other things. I will give order for time-bound completion of the remaining stormwater drain work,” he said, adding that orders have also been given to install sluice gates to all 160-odd lakes.
There are 633 stormwater drains in the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike limits, with a total length of 859.90 km, and out of this, 490 km have been completed. The work on the remaining extent (including size-stone masonry and missing bits) is under development.
Stating that the recent rains had led to one of the worst situations in a couple of zones like Mahadevapura, Bommai said, “Eighty per cent of Bengaluru’s water flows there, Mahadevapura alone has 69 lakes and all of them are overflowing.” “So, we will take up the work on war-footing and will give more funds to it in the next budget too,” he added.
“I have given Rs 1,500 crore for the work, tender is done, but there are lots of encroachments and they need to be cleared first, this is the situation across Bengaluru,” he lamented.
Noting that there had never been such widespread and continuous rains in the city so far like it happened earlier this month, Bommai pointed out that there is also a mismatch in the capacity of the stormwater drains and the amount of water that flows during heavy rains leading to them overflowing.
Krishna Byre Gowda asked the Chief Minister to specify as to when the remaining stretch of the stormwater drain will be developed as it will solve 80 per cent of the flooding issues in Bengaluru.
BJP MLA Arvind Limbavali from Mahadevapura, the constituency that was badly hit by recent rains and floods, said the government should not stop the work on removing of encroachments and the opposition should also support it.
Sluice gates should be installed in all lakes of Bengaluru to manage water there, Limbavali said.
He also pointed out that most of the buildings on the outskirts of Bengaluru don’t have rain water harvesting system.