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Abhishek - Life down the drain

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On Sunday evening, another small boy was consumed by an uncovered storm water drain. The story is tragic and is compounded by the utter callousness of the authorities - the BBMP engineer went on record virtually blaming the mother for the mishap. A minister announced a compensation of 1 lac without any reference to the recovery of the body or what action would be taken to prevent its recurrence. Another Bangalore MLA (from Congress) on TV9 kept playing the blame game without talking about what action can be taken to prevent such a mishap. I wonder how many more lives would need for the BBMP & BWSSB to wake up and take action. Perhaps they will take action ONLY if one their own is affected.The storm water drains are in a pathetic shape and close to collapse. Most of them are unclean, clogged and manipulated by many house owners rendering them ineffective. God knows where all they meet the sewage drain lines and how many of them are contaminated and act as sewer lines. I am interested in finding out how the drain system works in bangalore - where do they flow into - is the water treated? how much of it? how many houses are connected straight into lakes discharging effluents/sewage directly.


idontspam's picture

Not cover but fence

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I am saddned at the loss of life of the child and believe we dont know how to do simple things as keep storm water drains clean and safe. This inspite huge budgets going under the head 'remodelling of storm water drains' year after year. While I agree with the BBMP comissioner storm water drains need not be covered and can be retained as open waterways. There is failure on BBMPs part to keep it safe by fencing it appropriately. If not a wall at least a chain link fence for a few feet. Also our storm water drains also double up as sewerage lines which must be plugged. 

Extraordinary circumstances cannot be prevented but just dont make it easy for people to die. Put some convincingly audited basic safety infrastructure in place. Right now no one is convinced this is an extraordinary situation that could not have been prevented

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idontspam's picture

We should be careful of facilities?

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 The fallacy of the 'mother should have been careful' argument is why do we need amenities that are death traps?

Why do we need roads, drains, buildings that kill?

When an amenity is built dont we take care of keeping it safe for humans to use it?

Why cant we fence drains and keep it safe while keeping it clean plugging sewerage?

Why cant we have ped facilities on our roads and safe ped crossings?

Why do we leave construction debris on the roads and not clean it up with water end of each day?

Why do we not inform people of dangers during construction with warning lights and sign boards?

Why do we leave open manholes with a tree branch to cover its modesty?

When we build houses we take care to ensure it is aesthetic and safe for humans to live in it. Why dont we do the same for our city? 

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s_yajaman's picture

We should stay indoors!

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That is what our BBMP Commissioner's advice to us is.  Read this

What happens if we are already outdoors and walking on the road when there is a cloudburst?

Our cities are apparently only meant for people who can afford cars to go from their garage to a parking lot.  If you have to go about walking/cycling it is at your own risk. 


Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

Ravi_D's picture

BBMP is one amongst many culprits...

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This boy could have been anybody. Your son or mine. Such a sad story.

I'm afraid this is just the beginning - monsoon is just starting. 

BBMP is no saint, they screwed up, period. And now they want to claim they couldn't have done any better. Their performance is there for all to see.... everywhere you look.

At the same time, IMHO, blaming BBMP alone would be a mistake. This seems to be a result of two separate issues: chronic mismanagement, and utter selfishness.

First BDA / BBMP / BMRDA / GOK fail to plan ahead. Where they have planned, they fail execute them. Where they implement, they fail to stop encroachments.

Our fellow selfish citizens decide to take the extra feet or two they get and block the drains - reasons known to all.

Larger land sharks, apartments, restaurants go and setup shop next to our bigger drains, lakes, and clog up the arteries.

BBMP for sure should own up to a lot more and has a loooong way to go, but what about the rest? Who will bell the other cats?


trimurthi's picture

drains... the way out for storm water

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Have you observed the amount of plastic in the photos of the rescue operation?

Esp the way plastics are junked by public all over the place, the drains are pernnially clogged.

Also, an indirect solution would be to implement de-centralised rainwater harvesting. Expecting sewage drains to carry all the storm water too is a bit too much.

The death of Bangalore's numerous tanks and lakes seems to be speaking up everytime it rains.

murali772's picture

Was on the News9 discussion

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Was on the News9 discussion panel yesterday between 3 & 4 PM, alongwith Mr Vivek Menon (the runner up in the TOI Lead-India contest - Bangalore leg, and who later contested the Assembly elections as an independent candidate from Lingarajpuram constituency - unsuccessfully though).

Within the time slots I got, I tried to make the points
1) that this was a manifestation of the raw deal given to pedestrians in the city roads 'development' exercise, with all concentration being on facilitation of speedier movement of cars,
2) the BBMP helpline was a sham - I made a comparison to the one provided by AIRTEL, and made a case for outsourcing of a lot of their jobs. Mr Menon added that the outsourcing should be to reputed contractors, like L&T and not to some mom & pop outfits.

Mr Menon is a specialist in civil engg infrastructure areas, and was particularly critical of the magic boxes.

All in all, News9 is bringing in a lot of focus on local issues - very much needed to get our stake-less stake-holders to move their back-sides.   

Muralidhar Rao

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