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Heavy rain battering brand ‘Bengaluru’

Lakshmana Venkat Kuchi, Senior Journalist @kvlakshman Why Bangalore has not been able to become a Silicon Valley can be fathomed easily from its inability to handle rain, with flooding becoming a regular and recurring feature. The city still has to resolve many of its civic issues even as the city is bursting at its seems, […]

Edited By : Prateek Gautam | Updated: Jul 22, 2022 13:52 IST
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Bengaluru Rains

Lakshmana Venkat Kuchi, Senior Journalist
@kvlakshman

Why Bangalore has not been able to become a Silicon Valley can be fathomed easily from its inability to handle rain, with flooding becoming a regular and recurring feature. The city still has to resolve many of its civic issues even as the city is bursting at its seems, and pressure on its infrastructure immense.

The ruling BJP and the government here is getting the flak for its inability to maintain city infrastructure as two days of heavy rain brought it to a crawling halt — even its posh colonies like HSR Layout, JC Nagar, saw flooding with rainwater entering homes.

Residents of the areas lament that it is the same story, repeating year after year – as they suffer clogged and blocked drains, inundated houses, and encroachments. Thursday was no different with Chief Minister SR Bommai visiting the affected areas and mouthing promises of “looking into it” and “doing the needful”.

The Chief Minister himself lashed out at BBMP, the local body that runs the city administration, after he got a tongue lashing himself from residents when he went on an inspection tour. A visibly irritated Bommai took the officials to task and questioned them about the complaints that most residents made.

“We have waited for many years for the problems to be fixed, but the progress is very slow,” a resident told Bommai. Other residents reminded the Chief Minister of his tall promises and lack of action on the ground. Thus confronted, an irritated Bommai took it out on the BBMP officials who accompanied him, and later held a detailed meeting with them at this residence.

After promising compensation for households whose houses got damaged, the Chief Minister ordered the BBMP officials to get onto the ground and get the drains cleared.

But for Bommai and Bengulurians, more worries in the offing as the met department predicts more heavy rains and issued a Yellow Alert for the next three days. Already, the heavy rain has cost two lives and caused damage to several households.

What is worrying Bengalurians is that Brand Bengalruru is taking a severe beating, and this could make several investors to go elsewhere. Criticism of the government came in from within the BJP itself, with senior party leader and former Chief Minister SM Krishna lamenting on this in a letter to the Chief Minister.

The senior BJP leader asked the Chief Minister to take immediate steps to shore up Brand Bengaluru with concrete action on the ground – constituting a special task force Bengaluru Agenda Task Force. “When I was the CM, I had stressed on Information Technology, that has led to development of Bengaluru on par with California in the US in terms of generating jobs in the IT sector,” Krishna said and added, “To retain the tag, there is need to take many measures, including constituting BATF by involving experts,” the former CM said.

Naturally, the ‘God-given’ opportunity was exploited by the opposition Congress, that reiterated its corruption charges against the government and alleged it had swallowed up crores and crores of Rupees meant for desilting. Opposition leader in the house, and former Chief Minister, Siddaramaiah said “The government is claiming to have developed roads and drains in Bengaluru, and spent Rs 160 crore to desilt drains over the past two years. Where is the silt which was removed and transported? Don’t you have an account of where it was put? Peoples’ tax money is flowing from government’s coffers but has been swallowed up,” the senior Congress leader charged.

His colleague and KPCC president DK Shivakumar lamented that the BJP was going around with an umbrella in the city and doing precious little to prevent flooding and help people. “The BJP government should maintain the dignity of Bengaluru city,” Shiv Kumar added.

First published on: Jul 22, 2022 01:52 PM IST

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