Bengaluru rains: 16 dead in last two months as ill-equipped city suffers wettest season in history

Incessant rains in Bengaluru over the past two months have claimed nearly 16 lives, with the death toll rising on Sunday after a 16-year-old girl was washed away in a storm water drain.

A spate of heavy showers over the week has also made 2017 the wettest season in Bengaluru history. According to The Times of Indiathe city received 1,666 mm of rain this year, breaking the earlier record of 1,606 mm set in 2005. In the month of October alone, the city received 386 mm of rain.

Anger is simmering against the civic body's lackadaisical approach towards rain relief work, with many highlighting its apathy regarding Bengaluru's infrastructure woes. In the aftermath of the 16 deaths, the criticism directed at the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has intensified.

Bengaluru rains: 16 dead in last two months as ill-equipped city suffers wettest season in history

Representational image. AFP

Due to heavy flooding, several areas remained submerged under water. According to a report in The Hinduresidents of Kendriya Vihar in Yelahanka have been forced to remain indoors for the past five days, as water from the Yelahanka lake overflowed into the apartment complex which houses 600 families.

Houses had no electricity and residents had to wade through knee-deep water. Clogged drains only made matters worse for the city.

The report also mentioned that Bellandur and Yamalur lakes began frothing again on Sunday, alarming residents in nearby areas. Waterlogging also could be seen at Bellandur. Heavy rains saw Kodichikanahalli lake breached as well, causing flooding on the streets.

Political parties bicker

The rising death toll has triggered a political slugfest between the ruling Congress party and the BJP. Speaking to reporters in Mysuru, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah hit out at the BJP for politicising the issue. He said his government has taken up the repair work and clearance of the 850-kilometre storm water drain network in the city, and has allocated Rs 800 crore for this.

"No government, including the BJP, has done it in the past. Now they are playing politics over deaths," he said. Siddaramaiah said he had been residing in Bengaluru since 1983 and he had never seen such large-scale rain.

Heavy rains hit the city on 46 days in the last two months, he said, adding that "our drainage system and storm water drains do not have the capacity to bear it".

BJP state president Yeddyurappa, who visited the rain affected areas on Sunday, had blamed the state government for the deaths.

Meanwhile, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has sought a report from the Karnataka party unit regarding the poor state of roads in the rain-battered city. He reportedly called up Karnataka party in-charge KC Venugopal and sought a report on the poor condition of roads in Bengaluru, party sources said.

Poor urban development

According to civic officials, clogged drains and unfinished work on storm water drains aggravated the situation, resulting in drainage water flooding into residential areas. "This has been a long-standing demand of ours, and we have to face this issue every year. How many more lives have to be sacrificed before the government wakes up?" asked Krishnappa, a resident of Anepalya, where several houses were flooded after the rain, The Hindu report added.

Speaking to Firstpost earlier, Bengaluru-based water activist Vishwanath Srikantaiah had said, "Urbanisation patterns are also to be blamed. We have built up over our lakes and water channels such that the water has nowhere to go. And we were simply unprepared. There was no plan in place ahead of the monsoon to counter such a situation."

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Oct 18, 2017 16:28:26 IST

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