Bengaluru: Emergency service personnel were forced to press tractors and even inflatable boats into action in Bengaluru Monday as waterlogging caused by a heavy downpour Sunday evening left thousands of residents in low-lying areas of north Bengaluru stranded, and water gushed into homes and basements and inundated property.
Roads were transformed into streams as lakes and tanks overflowed, and emergency service personnel spent hours trying to reach residents in the city’s Yelahanka locality. Firefighters, civil defence staff, police, home guard officials, and the State Disaster Response Force were all mobilised for this effort.
Heavy, unseasonal rains have been lashing parts of Karnataka for over two weeks now, leaving 24 people dead across the state as of Sunday evening, according to State Disaster Management Authority officials.
The rains in central and south Karnataka have compelled Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai to visit affected districts — seven of which have suffered extensive damage — and announce relief measures, including compensation for those whose houses and crops have been damaged or destroyed.
Boats in Bengaluru
Since Sunday night, thousands of residents of Vidyaranyapura, Yelahanka, Jakkur, and Mahadevapura in north and north-west Bengaluru have been battling rain-induced power shutdowns, waterlogging, and overflowing sanitation drains. Officials of the municipal corporation, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), had to evacuate senior citizens and children from inundated apartment complexes, such as Kendriya Vihar, while supplying essentials to others.
“The rest of Bengaluru is fine, but the Yelahanka zone received severe rainfall (138 mm) in a matter of three hours — almost thrice the amount it usually gets in a month,” Gaurav Gupta, commissioner, BBMP, told reporters while overseeing relief efforts.
Manyata Tech Park, one of Bengaluru’s biggest IT parks, was left flooded following Sunday’s heavy rains. Waterlogging was also reported from Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research in north Bengaluru.
Half a dozen lakes and tanks in the city’s north zone — including Singapura lake, Amanikere lake, Allalasandra, and Yelahanka tank — overflowed, turning nearby roads into rivulets, reports said.
“Water has gushed into low-lying areas near lakes and tanks. We are checking documents to see if these buildings were constructed in lake buffer zones, but for now the priority is to supply essentials and relocate those affected,” said Gupta.
By Monday evening, water levels had receded in the apartment complexes, but only by a few inches.
CM visits rain-hit districts
Unseasonal and incessant rains have been battering other parts of Karnataka too over the past two weeks, causing severe damage to lives, livelihoods, and crops. Chief Minister Bommai made an unscheduled visit to rain-affected Chikkaballapur district Sunday after coming under fire from opposition leaders. He visited Kolar, another affected district, Monday.
In a late evening meeting to review the damage caused by the rain, Bommai announced the release of Rs 500 crore for repairing roads across the state.
The preliminary report submitted to the CM Sunday estimated the loss of life at 24, and loss of livestock at 191 across Karnataka. Around 658 houses have been destroyed, and 8,495 have suffered partial damage, according to the report.
It was also estimated that the rains had damaged agricultural crops in 5 lakh hectares, and horticultural crops in 30,114 hectares as of Sunday evening. The districts of Bengaluru Urban, Bengaluru Rural, Tumakuru, Kolar, Chikkaballapur, Ramanagara, and Hassan had suffered extensive damage, the report said.
“We will release Rs 1 lakh as the first part of assistance to those who have lost their homes due to the rains. Rs 5 lakh compensation will be given for houses completely destroyed due to rain. Crop loss relief will be released in real time as and when reports are verified online,” Bommai told reporters in Kolar Monday afternoon.
The India Meteorological Department has predicted heavy rainfall could continue in south interior Karnataka over the next 24 hours.
(Edited by Rohan Manoj)