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Bengaluru: Silicon valley of India under water

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Bengaluru city, has always been known for its chequered history, gentle people, refined culture, and salubrious climate. Bengaluru brags 67,000 registered IT businesses, making it India’s largest IT cluster and provides employment to nearly 2 million people. The city is trending in social media because of the heavy rainfall this year. This season, Bengaluru Urban has recorded 141 per cent (717.8 mm) excess rainfall and Rural 114 per cent (616.1 mm).

Citizens of Bengaluru shown their anger on social media by saying that the main problem of the flood is unplanned construction and dying lakes. Some of them even said that the migrant workers and city’s population has damaged the city. The affected areas are largely the IT corridor and lake bed areas that have seen unbridled encroachment & construction over years. Almost 47 lakes have been converted to residential apartments in the last few years.

The encroachment of the valley that originates at Hebbal and the disturbance of the massive Bellandur catchment, is cause of the worst pain in Bengaluru today.

Bengaluru sits above 2900ft sea level, one has to be master in bad planning to flood a high altitude, rich metro city. Other cities like Mumbai & Chennai with their flat terrain, costal tides, heavy rainfall are geographically flood vulnerable. They cannot be compared to Bengaluru.

The finest housing societies in Bengaluru where the rich and famous stay are submerged in water this rainy season. Bengaluru has evolved over the years to become a modern version of itself. If the city wants to continue the moniker of ‘IT capital of the world’ the district administration has to improve the infrastructure of the city.

Today 90% lakes and wetlands were already gone or about to be destroyed. Land are being offered at extravagant costs to new residents to the city who are ignorant that they would only experience Bengaluru’s wonderful weather’s drawbacks. Today most of the residential societies are relying on Trucks to get water.

Everyday several water tanks will be used by the society which increases the maintenance cost to the apartment owner. Residents also rely on bottled water for their daily drinking needs.  Bengaluru is disintegrating right in front of our eyes. If 5 hours of rain can do this, the future looks bleak for the city. We haven’t reached the bottom of this yet. Also, all these buildings whose basements are getting flooded, it’s eating away into their structural life.

If you look at Bengaluru as the old city from its inception, the old areas and suburbs that were added till say the early 1990s. They are all almost perched up in the plateau that the city is and as growth pushed outward, it started following the flow of water from this plateau and around the city.

In the old days while residents of small Bengaluru enjoyed its forever sweater weather, the lands around it well nourished by precipitation and flowing water, supplied its residents with fresh vegetables, fruits, what not. One of Karnataka’s Chief Minister uses to take dip in a holy river in Bengaluru before going to office, today that river is converted to a sewage water line. You cannot dare to go near it. There is still a department called Lake Development Authority which beautifies 5 lakes meanwhile 50 lakes are lost.

Today Bengaluru is a megapolis, with the single factor that has attracted the lakhs of its new inhabitants – great weather. There are unfortunately no shortcuts or quick fixes to fix this now. With climate change and heavier intensity precipitation becoming a norm in Bengaluru now, it is only going to get worse. You have built right in valleys and floodplains and accelerated run off with concrete.

The losses will mount. Many people have lost or paid heavy amount to repair cars submerged in underground garages for 3-4 consecutive years now. The losses to business and Bengaluru’s economy are incalculable. The Chief Minister of Karnataka finally seems to be acknowledging this.

But what about the city’s reputation? It’s shot for good. Good weather is now a curse for the majority of its population.

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