Called the Silicon Valley of India, Bengaluru is dealing with heavy rainfall that has caused water logging in various parts of the city. The flood in Bengaluru has worsened the city's traffic situation and is also affecting the residents' daily lives.
Monikka was set to visit her parents, who live in Salem, Tamil Nadu, on Onam. However, the flood in Bengaluru had defined other plans for her. Due to heavy water logging and disruption in the roads en route to Salem, Monikka had to let go of her plans, all of which she told Local Samosa on the first morning of the 'Sacred Onam Day'.
The IT capital of the country has been flooded with rainwater since last week owing to the heavy rainfall that turned out as an addition to the heavy monsoon season that falls in September and October in Bengaluru. Various horrific images and videos have been doing multiple rounds on social media that speak volumes about the poor infrastructure and crippled urban planning surrounding present-day Bengaluru.
Amidst the blame game by the current government in the state of Karnataka for the situation, the residents of Bengaluru have been suffering the most. Monikka, who resides in Malleshwaram, and is just 2 km away from her office, has been covering the distance in not less than 2-3 hours for a few days. Reaching home at around 10 p.m. instead of 7 p.m., unlike before, has also called for other problems for Monikka. "There are hardly any vegetable vendors sitting at their regular place because of the water logging, and even if there are some, they close their stalls till I reach the place from my office," she said.
While her area is not amongst the worst-affected places, the ongoing road construction combined with heavy rains has made it worse. "One of my colleagues had got stuck in the water along with her vehicle," Monikka said, who herself uses a two-wheeler to reach the office and now is skeptical about it post the incident. Using public transport is also not an option, as Monikka said, the frequency of buses has become low, and the auto drivers have doubled the fares.
Being a trainee architect, her daily schedule would include site-visiting, which is also an old story now as most of the "sites" have been submerged underwater. The productivity of the tech hub has undoubtedly taken a back seat as Harif Edassery, an IT professional working with Infosys, mentioned that his team has not been able to work properly as many of their employees are unable to reach their respective offices and many offices are closed in light of the situation.
Not just the clients but Edassery said that his colleagues are also having difficulty reaching their office located in Electronic City Phase 1, and some are not even able to reach at all. Although Edassery resides in Electronic City, not much affected by the flood waters but stated that the roads are damaged, and the ongoing construction in the area has blocked the drainage holes. "There is no proper drainage system in the entire city and hence, no definite way for the water to flow, causing a flood-like situation in areas like Marathalli, Outer Ring Road, and others," he said, adding that he has seen such a flood for the first time in Bengaluru.
Just two days ago, the situation was worse in Bellandur, where Shaik Raza resides. In his words, "It was impossible to commute to the office as the moment we stepped out, we had to walk in water up to our knees. How could one reach the office with wet and dirty clothes?" He adds, "there was heavy traffic and no space for the public buses to move."
However, Raza also mentioned that a private company in his area, which was partially submerged in water, deployed security guards to help people cross the roads safely. Meanwhile, the security guards did the work that was expected to be carried out by the public servants. Recently, he has also observed a few workers adding pipelines for the water to flow.
Unlike Raza, however, neither of the persons who spoke to Local Samosa mentioned spotting the civic body taking the initiative to drain the water in their areas, including Avani Jain, who is a resident of Vasanthnagar. She said there is no water logging in her area like before, but she did not see any worker taking up the work of releasing the water.
Living in the central part of Bengaluru, Jain had the privilege of not facing major water logging issues, however, the newly constructed roads in her area have already been damaged due to rains leading to many visible huge potholes. "It is difficult to find conveyance, and on the rainy days, there are streams of water flowing across that part," she said. Jain works as a marketing leader with a startup, and though she did not have to suffer much, she told that people from her office did take 3-4 hours to reach home in just 5 km distance due to traffic and unavailability of conveyance.
It is only a matter of disappointment that one of the causes of traffic jams, as identified by the Bengaluru police — being people taking shelter in the underpasses, proved to be another cause of worry for the residents, especially bikers when the police announced for penalising people for standing at underpasses. Even though the decision aims to reduce traffic and avoid accidents, there is no doubt that it leaves bikers and peddlers with no other option than to get drenched in the water, which otherwise could have been avoided had massive construction not chopped off the trees in the city.
In other news, the schools and colleges in the affected areas were shut down earlier this week and reopened in the view of light rains, but as it seems, the students are still suffering the water logging in their areas. Megha Gupta, who lives by herself in the S.G. Palya area of South Bengaluru, says that commuting to her college becomes much more difficult during rain. "The only issue I am facing is the heavy rains which makes it very problematic for me to reach the college," she says, adding that the university should take a call regarding this while keeping the name of her college unrevealed.
In a situation where people from posh areas are being rescued through boats, houses have been submerged, and many are calling for help, the capitalistic market seems to be no way behind than making monetary benefits, with hotel tariffs reaching 40,000 per night in the flood-affected areas of Bengaluru. The chaos has also resulted in outrage among the residents, who are showing deep condolences for the unplanned infrastructural development pacing up in the city for a long time.
Today, as Bengaluru, which is often praised for having pleasant weather throughout the year, deals with a challenging situation, it becomes a mandate to trace how similar praise also invited a large population on its land, leading to the origination of need and greed for infrastructural development that ultimately, turned out to be on the cost of nature and lives of people. It is high time that government officials and private builders take the floods as a reminder call to plan future developmental activities before the story of the 2005 Mumbai deluge repeats in Bengaluru!