Will There Be an END to the FLOODING in the City after Heavy Rain? The Answer to this question will be -ABSOLUTELY NO!
Mangaluru: Year after year after Mangaluru City got into BIG transformation and Extreme Developmental works under Mangaluru Smart City Ltd (MSCL) together with Mangaluru City Corporation, living here has been hectic and risky especially when the monsoon arrives. And with just an hour or two of heavy rains, every nook and corner of this One time beautiful Coastal City has turned into a disaster and a nightmare for residents and visitors coming here.
Why is our City still flooding when recently crores and crores of rupees of Smart city project money have been spent on new drainage/sewage systems? Our netas and officials in MCC are busy planning in renaming streets and circles, spending lakhs to crores on such unwanted projects, rather than using the same money in rectifying issues like flooding, dilapidated and pot-holed roads, unsafe foior=rhpaths etc. Bah humbug!
Just look at the havoc created in the City on Saturday early morning when it poured down heavily, and 80% of the roads, home/business compounds etc were flooded with rainwater. Due to flash floods on Saturday 30 July morning, many roads in the city were inundated with rainwater and traffic movement was affected at many places, especially below the Pumpwell flyover, Attavar, Yekkur, Padil, Kottara Chowki, Kudroli, Bunder, Kodialbailguthu West, Padil, Adyar Kannur and other low-lying areas.
DC K V Rajendra declared a holiday for all Anganwadi centres, schools and colleges in Mangaluru city limits, Mulki, Moodbidri, Ullal and Bantwal taluks. Though heavy rain, with thunderstorms hit the city till morning, weather turned sunny later in the day. Fire stations at Kadri and Pandeshwara swung into action to help citizens. Three locations in Dakshina Kannada received the highest rainfall in the state on Saturday. Badaga Yedapadavu and Harekala in Mangalore taluk received 194mm and 193.5mm of rainfall, respectively. Meanwhile, Pajeer in Bantwal taluk received 159mm rainfall in the last 24 hours, ending 8:30 am on Saturday.
Mangaluru City South MLA D Vedavyas Kamath said that the public faced a lot of inconvenience due to heavy rain. “Due to high tide, water on stormwater drains and rivers could not reach the sea and a reverse flow led to flash floods in the city. I have visited areas that are affected due to the floods along with mayor Premanand Shetty and corporators. I have directed the officials to release compensation to those who have lost properties in the city,” the MLA said.
He said the government has already declared maximum compensation for property losses due to rain. “Earlier, the government was releasing only Rs 95,000 for a completely damaged house and there was no compensation for flood-affected homes. Based on my request, chief minister Basavaraj Bommai has increased the compensation to Rs 5 lakh for completely damaged houses and Rs 10,000 for partially damaged ones,” he said.
And we have been hearing the same talk from the MLA, MCC officials every time it rains and bunch of losses are incurred. Wouldn’t be a wise thing to do, to find a solution to end such flooding everytime it rains, rather than rolling down tears and fooling the people with fake promises. The flooding in the Coastal town is not new, we have seen it in the past and we will see it in the future too, and no suitable action has been taken by the district administration, nor MSCL or MCC.
And now our popular MLA says that the work on restoring all stormwater drains in the city will be resumed after the rain recedes. Oh well, so now we have to wait a few more weeks or months for the rains to recede. What a joke! Why wasn’t the restoring work taken up prior to the start of the monsoon? Who are our MLA and other officials fooling with their fake assurances?
The MLA also said, “We have received Rs 70 crore through the minor irrigation department, and work on restoring ‘Rajakaluve’ (stormwater drains) is in progress. The work has been stopped due to heavy rain. It will soon resume and is expected to be completed by December. The problem of flash floods will be solved once the work is completed,” he said. That means, the entire monsoon months we will be experiencing floods and will be wading through the knee-high water stranded streets.
On Saturday, apart from flooded streets and home properties, even low-lying shops experienced water entering inside, resulting in goods damage. The early Saturday morning rains which lasted during the wee hours of 2-3 am and lasted till 6.30-7 am caused distress and inconveniences to motorists and commuters. Businesses and low-lying homes felt the brunt of the rain spell. Light vehicles like auto-rickshaws and two-wheelers had a tough time wading into the flooded streets. Those who had to reach their workplaces in the morning faced hardship and reached late to their offices etc.
Even the Mangaluru Central railway station compound looked like a mega swimming pool, and it was difficult for the people to catch their trains. The NH in front of First Neuro hospital looked like a flowing river, with buses and other heavy vehicles wading through it.
If the newly constructed drainage system is not effective during heavy rains, there go Crores of money down the drain. Crores more spent on such projects that remain a mess. If it seems like a muddle, that’s because it is one. And the underlying cause of the mess: Our City corporation nor Mangaluru Smart City Limited which undertakes Smart City projects have no clear policy on how your roads or drainage should be built.
Citizens are facing another nightmarish monsoon of bad roads and unscientific drainage. “What is the use of spending so much? Every year, MCC/MSCL spends huge sums of money, but it’s useless because work is not done the right way. Such expenditure will only benefit contractors and vested interests.
Building a good drainage system should form a part of the Mangaluru Master Plan, which is lacking terribly. While the City officials and local MLAs, MLC and other politicians are boasting about Mangaluru as one of the “SMART CITY” of India, it is time that they also put in some dedicated, sincere and committed “SMART” people to manage effective work in the development of the city- and also make sure that the drainage and footpaths are constructed to the standards, which will benefit the citizens of Mangaluru.
And on a final note, I want to tell our local MLA, other Netas, and concerned officials in MCC and MSCL, REPAIR the ROADS and DRAINS FIRST and then RENAME the STREETS and CIRCLES.