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Karnataka CM Bommai blames Congress for floods in Bengaluru

Bengaluru: Rains have been battering Bengaluru since days, and schools have declared  holidays and companies asked their employees to work from home as the city continued to reel from the aftermath of the torrential downpour that threw life out of gear on Monday. A fresh spell of rain only added to the problems of the people in the country’s IT capital.

Amidst this, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai cited ‘unprecedented rainfall and overflowing’ water bodies for the overflow, but assured his government’s commitment to restore normalcy. ‘Karnataka, especially Bengaluru has received unprecedented heavy rain. Since the last 90 years, such rain has not been recorded. All the tanks are full and are overflowing, some of them have breached, and there have been continuous rains… every day it is raining’, he said.

He further blamed the ‘maladministration’ of the previous Congress governments for the present condition of the city, and insisted only two zones were seriously affected with the rains, although a picture was being painted as if the entire Bengaluru was struggling with floods. ‘Basically the issue lies in two zones, particularly the Mahadevapura zone for reasons such as the presence of 69 tanks in that small area and almost all of them have either breached or are overflowing. Secondly, all establishments are in low-lying areas, and the third is encroachments’, he listed out.

His government has taken it as a ‘challenge’ to restore normalcy and engineers and workers and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) teams are working round the clock. Blaming ‘maladministration and unplanned administration’ of the previous Congress governments for the present misery, CM Bommai said they had given permissions for construction activities ‘right-left-centre’ in the lake areas, on the tank bunds and buffer zones. They had never thought of maintaining the lakes, he said and hastened to add he has now taken up a challenge to set things rights and had allocated Rs 1,500 crore for the development of stormwater drains. A lot of encroachments are also being cleared. The opposition party hit back at the chief minister for his accusation.

Meanwhile, citizens continued to face difficulties and roads, streets, posh localities continued to reel under water. Several private schools have declared holidays and have switched to online teaching for a few days, while many firms have suggested that employees work from home. Most parts of the Outer Ring Road, Sarjapur road, that houses some IT firms resembled lakes, affecting the movement of vehicular traffic. Tractors were ploughing through the flooded roads and streets, ferrying people to their respective destinations.

According to chief minister Bommai, some areas in the state capital have received 150% more rain than normal between September 1 and 5. Mahadevapura, Bommanahalli and K R Puram have recorded 307% excess rain, he said, without elaborating. ‘This was the highest rainfall in the last 42 years. All the 164 tanks in Bengaluru are filled to the brim’, he said.

Meanwhile, a 23-year-old woman was electrocuted while navigating a flooded road at Siddapura, police said. She came into contact with an electric pole. The incident is said to have taken place on Monday night when the victim was returning home on her scooter.

Meanwhile, responding to the floods in the city, Telangana minister KT Ramarao called for ‘bold reforms in urban planning and governance’. Our cities are our primary economic engines driving the states’/country’s growth and with rapid urbanisation and sub-urbanisation, ‘infrastructure is bound to crumble as we haven’t infused enough capital into upgrading the same’, he said in a tweet. ‘We need bold reforms in urban planning & governance. Get away from conservative mindset…’ he said in another tweet. ‘Clean roads, clean water, clean air & better storm water management systems are not hard to build’, Mr Ramarao, son of Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhara Rao, added.

Hitting back at CM Bommai for blaming previous Congress governments’ ‘maladministration’ for the city’s rain issues, party’s state president D K Shivakumar urged the CM and his administration to perform or face election. He also alleged the ‘corrupt’ BJP government and its officials were responsible for Bengaluru’s current situation.

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