Wading through yucky sewage

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Bangalore, September 14:  Fed up with false assurances from civic officials, traders and daily wage workers took matters into their own hands and blocked Sultanpet Main Road, near B.V.K. Iyengar Road here on Thursday. They refused to give way until officials heeded to their one, simple demand: clear the drains and prevent sewage from flowing onto the road.

Mallikarjun Channabasappa, who works in a lorry transport agency, said come rain or shine, sewage flows onto the road. When there is rain, it only gets worse. Traders and workers are forced to wade through the sewage that has garbage floating in it.

According to Selvaraju, a labourer, several daily wage workers like him have fallen ill as they are constantly wading through the sewage. “We can’t afford medical treatment. When there is rain, we have to wade through nearly waist-high sewage water,” he said.

Old Thargupet Road, like Sultanpet Main Road, also suffers from the same problem. Vimal Raj Mehta, a local trader, said the area contributes several lakhs to the government in taxes. “For the past four months, we have been suffering the same problem. Yet, there has been no respite.”

Local councillor A.L. Shivakumar told The Hindu the area, which is densely populated, generates around 50 tonnes of garbage a day. “The traders and residents must exercise their civic responsibility and only hand over the garbage to the pourakarmikas. Instead, most garbage ends up on the streets. I have urged the BBMP Commissioner to take up the zero garbage programme here,” he said.

He also said the underground drainage pipeline needed to be changed. “A proposal for it, amounting to Rs. 32.4 crore has been submitted to the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board. However, the BWSSB officials claim they do not have funds to take up the project,” he added.

BWSSB’s senior official pointed out that the area did not have any storm-water drains for the rain water to flow. “All rainwater is let into the sewerage lines by the residents, who open up the manhole covers. The BWSSB lines are not designed to bear such load. This leads to blockage and causes reverse flow, thereby flooding the roads,” he explained.

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