Not so ‘smart’ planning causes M’luru to submerge in rains

Mangaluru: The rainfall that has been lashing across several parts of the city has given a breather to its residents from the scorching heat. It, however, has led to flooding, the problem that the city has been facing over the years, thanks to the inefficient planning by the Mangaluru City Corporation officials to combat the situation. In this case, a mere two hours of showers has thrown the city’s normal life out of gear.

The inclusion of Mangaluru in the “Smart City” list of the Centre meant high expectations of improved infrastructure and other basic facilities to ease the life of a common man. Proper drainage planning to overcome the flooding problem is part of the basic infrastructural facility that a commoner would wish for. However, in contrast to this stalled construction projects, no stormwater drains at few places and little or no thought for the environmental factors while designing has led to the accumulation of rain water at prominent spots across the city which includes Kottara Chowki, Attavar, Balmatta, Padil, Kankanandy etc.

To add to the woes, the schools and colleges have just commenced in the city and several students who have gone to the schools in the morning not expecting such a situation will be stranded either at school or in the standstill traffic. A perilous situation was averted at Lady Hill School as the dilapidated compound wall of the school came crashing just minutes before the school students were to leave for the day. Since no provision has been made for the water to flow out of the premises, the accumulated water pressure took its toll on the compound wall, cited locals. A Newskarnataka reporter who witnessed the incident was just lucky not to have been at the receiving end of this crashing wall. However, few parked two wheelers nearby were totally damaged in the incident.

Speaking of traffic jams, Pumpwell junction witnesses jams on a daily basis owing to the halted flyover construction work but the water logging has just multiplied the woes of the motorists as well as local shops nearby who had no option but to down their shutters. A similar scene is playing out at Padil junction at the recently inaugurated railway underpass. Notably, here the authorities were “smart” enough to lay the storm water drains above the level of the underpass road thus forming an artificial pool (due to the water overflowing into the road from the drain), says a Bajal resident. At Kottara Chowki, people say that since 10 years the authorities were trying to fix the problem but there has been no solution.

Interestingly, though year after year, the city’s residents have to face the rain fury, the city corporation seems to be on a drive only to concretise the roads without paying any attention to first make provisions for flow of rain water or pavements for people to walk.

Several locals who spoke to the Newskarnataka reporter have blamed the city corporation for not taking these basic issues seriously while planning the city’s infrastructure. What is meant to ease the problems is only adding to them, says a Bendoorwell resident while adding that crores of tax payers money gets wasted as the concretised roads now will have to be redug for laying of the drainage lines which should have been taken up in the first place.

“Even a fool knows underground works need to be completed before concreting roads”,said Sunil, a Kavoor resident.

Another local blamed the late desilting of the storm water drains for the problem.

When Newskarnataka reporter tried contacting the Mangaluru City Corporation, the latter responded that it had already undertaken the desilting work of drains earlier last week. “No one can avoid these issues that arise out of rainfall. These are common”, he added trying to brush off the MCC’s responsibility.

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