In fact, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike’s (BBMP) go-slow approach towards fixing SWDs put chief minister Basavaraj Bommai in a spot on Thursday when Kaginele Mahasamsthana Kanaka Guru Peeta seer Eshwaranandapuri Swamiji said: “Only when it rains in Bengaluru do elected representatives and BBMP officials visit the affected areas, we have seen this happen several times. But there is no permanent solution found for this. Don’t the officials realise what the problem is? Can’t they fix it for good? The CM had said that he will give a permanent solution to Bengaluru. But we will not accept any assurance…”
At this point, a visibly irked Bommai grabbed the mic from the seer and countered: “Not just an assurance, we have already prepared a plan, allocated finances and work has already started. I am not like past CMs who only gave assurances. I deliver what I say. I am not scared of anyone.”
The incident during a function organised at Sri Manjunatha temple in Garudacharpalya, Mahadevapura assembly constituency, left everyone stunned. However, it put the spotlight back on flooding, which was slowly fading away from public memory.
When TOI checked with BBMP authorities on the progress made with regard to clearing encroachments on stormwater drains, it was revealed that the work had come to a standstill. The revenue authorities justified the same stating the matter was pending before court. Of the 8km-long drains along which encroachments have been identified, only 4km have been cleared. The remaining could not be taken forward as several property owners have approached the court, said officials.
Interestingly, the properties that were razed immediately after the floods were mostly temporary sheds or those owned by economically weaker sections and the middle class, while encroachments by big builders remained unaffected.
According to details provided by the Palike, it identified 696 encroachments of SWDs across the city and more than 300 of them were permanent structures.
BBMP chief commissioner Tushar Giri Nath said that so far, nearly 250 encroachments have been cleared.
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