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Stink-free Bangalore?

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The projects to clean up storm water valleys had been taken up under Environment Action Plan (EAP) Part A in 2004, but it was taken up again in 2010 as there was no progress. BWSSB chairman Gaurav Gupta told TOI that works had been speeded up internally and the board has set an internal target to ensure zero sewage flow into storm water drains and lakes of these valleys before monsoon this year. The project had gone slow mainly because BWSSB was unable to locate trunk sewers, while the other utilities were not ready to disturb power transmission lines and allow digging roads.

The project entails replacing sewer lines spanning a length of 22.41 km. "We were hindered by a number of utilities and our own departmental flaws. But now we have been able to overcome all stumbling blocks and make sure that before this monsoon, the stench in these valleys will be minimized," Gupta told TOI.

Gupta said, "We found that most lateral sewage lines were not connected to the trunk sewers and the main trunk sewers were corroded or choking. The whole work was tedious but I have made it a point to complete it this year. Otherwise another monsoon will make the situation worse."

For the full report in the ToI, click here.

Amongst the most embarrassing aspect of the city is its stinking storm-water drains, which in effect are nothing but sewers. Comparing these to the Thames, Main, Seine, etc, which are the pride or their respective cities, makes us hang our head in shame. Well, if Mr Gupta is to be believed, that's all going to change soon.

Well, if it indeed does, he is going to be my nominee for next year's Namma Bengaluru award (my nominee, Dr U V Singh, IFS, won the award this year - check this; that he may have been others' nominee too is another matter :))) ).

Muralidhar Rao


silkboard's picture

Good job Mr Gaurav Gupta, one question

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We have talked about the subject so much here (esp Mr Anantharam sir). Good show Mr Gupta for taking this up. Some question about this project

  • How are you dealing with situations where a house or apt complex has no sewerage connection in place and was discharging into storm water drains?
  • Is BWSSB providing new sewage connections to such places?
  • In case apartment or house had a sewage connection, but is still found to be discharging sewage into storm water drains, are you imposing a penalty on them?

I suggest that it will be a good idea to publicize this project and let all know that there are heavy penalties involved if people are found to be discharging ssewage into storm water drains?

silkboard's picture

suggestion for BWSSB - 'whistle blower' hotline for this

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Can BWSSB open a hotline and run a whistle blower campaign for a few months where in people will be encouraged to report any instance of sewage water being discharged into an open or storm water drain?

I think a radio/paper ad with taglines such as "live near a drain, want to get rid of stench, help us!" may catch attention and help BWSSB get info on such cases.

srinidhi's picture

great effort..only if it works!

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I had come to a conclusion that it would be impossible to seperate storm water and was thinking of an option where the sewage is treated at regular intervals within the city itself!

BWSSB's plan looks grand but will take up lot of money and resources..dunno where that would come from..

Arkavathi joins cauvery near mekedatu..go upstream on arkavathi and you will find chunchi falls..this falls is beautiful but always frothy..was checking on google satellite maps..this river is being fed with discharge from Vrushabhavati its bangalores sewage which is finally ending into cauvery..this is really sad and has to stop immediately..

blrpraj's picture

ha ha ha ha

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I had a good laugh on reading the heading and the post that followed it. The reason i laughed is, this is wishful thinking and in fact the heading should be changed to "Stink-free India?" since the problem is not limited to just bangalore eventhough i agree that this forum is Bangalore centric. The point i am trying to make is that the stink is reflective of the general outlook & problems of the country; don't agree with me?..then go to Chennai, Mumbai, Calcutta, Delhi etc. and you will find the same problems (rotting garbage, polluted & filthywater bodies, people attending to nature's call in the open etc.).

For the environment to be stink free the mentality and cultural outlook of the people has to change and they need to have better civic sense and true concern for the environs around them. In combination to that the authorities need to do their jobs in terms of building sewage & solid waste treatment facilities & operating them properly.

Otherwise, a stink-free Bangalore will be just a pipe dream and whatever efforts outlined in the TOI article in Murali's post are nothing but putting lipstick on a pig.

sanjayv's picture

"Pipe Dream"

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This statement by Mr. Gupta is a pipe dream.  Bangalore can be broadly divided into the have and have-nots.  The have's core areas of the city have some sort of underground drainage UGD) system.  Unfortunately, many of these UGDs run parallel to storm water drains and do drain into them. With proliferation of apartments, UGDs in existing areas are often inadequare for the capacity they have to carry.  Ideally, these drains should travel to a sewage treatment plant where the water will be treated before being released to a water body (in our case, the lakes that eventually drain back to the Kaveri or Pennar rivers (Via the Vrishabhavati in one case). Unfortunately, installed sewage treatment capacity in Bangalore is woefully inadequate.

The have not are areas along the periphery.  They have no UGDs.  So the sewage mostly just goes into the kaluves and raja kaluves to drain to the lake system. Contracts were given for laying UGD pipes in these areas.  The first round of tenders had no bidder.  For the second round, my understanding is that the work was awarded and kicked off with great fan fare, but has stalled, at least for the Mahadevapura package which is of interest to me. Now even if UGDs are there, there is the question of sewage treatment capacity.

Sewage treatment is very electricity intensive and needs uninterrupted power.  Another challenge for the cash strapped BWSSB which charges a paltry 25 or 50 Rs a month for sewage treatment. comment guidelines

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