Friday, August 29, 2008

Rain: five tanks on the outskirts of Bangalore overflow

The Hindu : Front Page : Rain: five tanks on the outskirts of Bangalore overflow
Bangalore: Rainwater partially overwhelmed some 100 houses on either side of the Hebbal valley as five major tanks, beginning with the Bettahalasuru tank near the Bengaluru International Airport, overflowed late Wednesday night.

Low-lying areas such as Byraveshwaranagar, Hennur Garden, Vaddarapalya, Kothanur, Nandagokula Layout, Patel Garden and so on were waterlogged. Although rain ceased in the early hours of Thursday, the water level is yet to recede at many places.

Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Commissioner S. Subramanya said that all the major five interlinked tanks — Bettahalasuru, Agrahara, Kogilu, Yelahanka and Rachenahalli — filled as the area received 352 mm rainfall in the last three days. Had the same quantum of rain occurred in the erstwhile BMP areas, the consequences would have been unimaginable.
Cascading effect

The Bettahalasur tank spilled over first on Wednesday midnight when it rained 110 mm and this had a cascading affect on the other tanks.

Meanwhile, Hebbal and Nagawara tanks in the city overflowed.

All these resulted in the flooding of the Hebbal valley which connects to Kalkere tank, he said.

Dr. Subramanya said the BBMP personnel had to cut open the Kalkere tank, allowing water to flow further to pre-empt flooding of some of the newly added areas to the BBMP. “It will take at least 24 hours for water to completely recede if it does not rain again.”

Executive Engineer (Byatarayanayapura zone) M.P Somesh said the stormwater drain had the capacity to take only 55 to 60 mm rainfall and could not cope with the doubled inflow.

Two other factors contributed to the flooding: diversion of water near Hennur Bande, where the drain is being refurbished, and the bottleneck caused by the narrow pipeline (only 2 to 4 metres wide compared to the 42-metre width of drain) below a nearby railway track, said Mr. Somesh.

Dr. Subramanya said there was no damage as there were not many constructions, particularly on both the sides of the Hebbal valley, and this allowed the water to take its natural path.

It would have been a different situation had the Vrushabhavathi valley experienced a similar inflow, he said and pointed out that encroachment had greatly narrowed the valley.

He warned against complacency saying the situation might worsen if the catchment areas of these tanks received heavy rain consecutively.
River or road?

Overnight, the roads in Patel Gardens, Kothanur, one of the affected areas, turned into a flowing river.

There was water all around and one could not make out where the road ended or the sidewalk began.

“I could not send my five-year-old to school as the van could not access our road,” said Pavitra H. Her daughter Shraddha did not mind and joined a gleeful batch of neighbouring youngsters celebrating a holiday. “In fact, in the morning the water was up to the hip level. I could not afford to take time off work and waited till noon for the water to recede. Finally, I sat pillion on my husband’s bike with my legs in a horizontal position to avoid getting splashed,” said Ms. Pavitra.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Residents spend sleepless nights -

Residents spend sleepless nights -
BANGALORE: For residents of Okalipuram, disruption and irregularity in water supply is nothing new. When they spend sleepless nights to collect drinking water, officials concerned turn a blind eye towards the problem, citing technical reasons.

The pipeline, which supplied water from Rajajinagar, was disconnected about two years ago when the underpass work on the Magadi road junction started. Now, the residents have lost all hopes of the water connections to be restored until the completion of the underpass.

The water supply to this area was not a problem until the construction of the underpass started. At present, water to this locality is being supplied from a different pipeline only during night time.

The supply duration is also short and at times there is no supply for days. ‘’Every alternate night, we have to wait for the water and this has become a routine now," says Manohar Urs, a resident of Okalipuram.

Moreover, water to this locality is being supplied from the West Division whereas the Okalipuram comes under Central Division.

"While this area comes under Bashyam Nagar service station (Central Division), water is supplied from Rajajinagar (West Division). And whenever we go with the problems regarding the disruption in water supply, officials at the Central Division do not bother as they look after maintenance problems only.

When we approach the West Division official, he says they are not supplying water to this area. The problem with the irregularity in supply is due to this," Manohar said.

After the residents failed to get response from the BWSSB officials, they have now decided to bring the issue to the notice of the Commissioner of the Social Welfare Department.

"It is very inconvenient to be awake during nights to collect water which is supplied for such a short duration. There are even days when we go out to the public tap to collect water though we have proper water connections at home," said Ravindra, another resident.

Speaking to this website's newspaper, a senior BWSSB official said:"We are aware of the problem in this area and after the line was disconnected we have been supplying water through an alternative line. Water has to be supplied during night and there is a problem from the last six months.

We had to cut down the supply hours as we are not able to pump water from TG Halli which has almost reached dead storage now."

Dasarahalli's woes -Bangalore-Cities-The Times of India

Katta flooded with Dasarahalli's woes -Bangalore-Cities-The Times of India
Bangalore: It was a replay of recent visits by ministers to areas lacking in basic civic infrastructure. On Saturday, it was the turn of Katta Subramanya Naidu, minister for IT/BT, BWSSB and in charge of Bangalore North, to face residents' grievances over bad roads and irregular water supply.

Naidu visited the Dasarahalli constituency on Saturday, along with MLA Muniraju and officials of BBMP and BWSSB. The minister inspected ongoing work by the BBMP. Residents briefed him on persisting problems, including broken pipelines, poor water supply and battered roads.

Naidu said plans were on to ensure regular water supply in five wards in the area. He also distributed four-wheelers to nine beneficiaries.

Later in the day, Naidu, along with MLA S R Vishwanath, participated in the foundation stone-laying ceremony for various civil works planned on a budget of Rs 34 crore in Yelahanka. At the event, he detailed plans to implement infrastructure projects announced in the budget. He also urged the public to air their woes in public grievance meetings.

Monday, August 18, 2008

A plea for sanitation - Deccan Herald

Deccan Herald - A plea for sanitation
Less than 30 per cent of India's 950 million strong population has access to proper sanitation and women are the worst sufferers, says Riva

“My work is whole day long and yet, I cut down my liquid intake for I am scared of not finding public toilets to relieve myself,” says Geeta, a 21-year-old slum dweller who sells vegetables on the streets of Bangalore. Being poor, she faces two-fold difficulties, the unavailability of public toilets, which could be used free of cost and the unaffordability to access 'pay and use' toilets. "I cannot pay Rs 2 each time to address nature's call,” adds she.
Geeta's problem is emblematic of the toilet travails faced by millions of people, particularly women across India's teeming cities and rural areas.

Less than 30 percent of India's 950 million strong population has access to proper sanitation as against 73 per cent in Vietnam and 56 per cent in Zimbabwe. Over 70 per cent people across our cities and villages are deprived of toilet hygiene and safe drinking water. And in a society like ours where women are forbidden even to speak about their bodies, one can imagine the difficulty with which they manage their bodily functions in unshielded areas.

To protect their dignity and maintain a sense of privacy, they go only in the early morning or late at night, often becoming easy victims of molestation. "I go with my mother early in the morning to the railway track to ease myself," says 14-year-old Jyoti, who sells Jaipuri handicrafts along the roadside in Yeshwantpur.

We have a shining hi-tech India with multi-storied buildings, luxurious cars, expensive mobiles, posh shopping malls and a booming IT sector on one hand; on the other, we have a number of slums mushrooming in metros, which lack not only toilets but also basic human necessities like a habitable space and clean drinking water. Slums in Bangalore can be divided into three categories, old, new and latest. "While old ones do have sanitation facilities, new and latest ones in particular lack them. People go out into open areas to address nature's call,” says Arun Selve, a social activist working with Jana Sayeyoga, a Bangalore-based NGO.

No water

Even if these slums are provided with public toilets, either they are very few in number or they lack sufficient water supply. "The only public toilet here is always short of water and hence we have to go into open areas for excretion,” says Gangamma, a 45-year-old migrant worker from Raichur who currently stays in one of the newly emerged slums in Electronic City.

The plight of schools is no different as far as sanitation is concerned. Most of the schools, both in rural and urban India, do not have proper toilets. "Neither there is any toilet room nor is there any proper drinking water," says Suresh Gonjwala, a trainee teacher at a private school in Jaraganahalli. Improper sanitation and unsafe drinking water are the major causes of some widespread deadly diseases and epidemics that wreck our country. According to Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), a single grain of faeces can contain 10 million viruses, one million bacteria, 1,000 parasite cysts and 100 eggs of worms. Approximately 700,000 children die every year in our country due to diarrhoea, typhoid, cholera and such diseases resulting from poor hygiene.
"There is only one toilet-room at each floor, too filthy to be used, but yet being used by almost over 100 students and some teachers," exclaims Shekhar, a private high school teacher in Sunkadakatte. Children have to go out in the open or shell out money in ‘pay and use’ toilets each time.

This is one of the major reasons for girl students to drop out of schools after 5th standard. "We pay 50 paisa each time to access Sulabh toilets adjacent to our school building as school infrastructure lacks toilets,” says, Bhagya, a 9 standard girl who studies in a government high school near Yediyur.

Recently, a Hindi news channel covered a story of a school in Bihar where teenage girls were blackmailed and harassed by their male teachers who threatened to disgrace them by circulating their pornographic MMS they had made taking advantage of the inadequate infrastructure (roofless bathroom) of the school.
Is the government listening?

Krishna water project not under govt`s consideration

Zee News - Krishna water Yeddyurappa
Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa on Sunday said a project to bring Krishna water to Bangalore from Alamatti Dam was not under the state government's consideration.

He said that the statement regarding this project by Minister for Excise and Information Technology Katta Subramanya Naidu was not the opinion of government.

Naidu had said yesterday the Government was considering bringing Krishna river water to Bangalore city to augment drinking water supply.

Yeddyurappa said the BJP government was committed to complete all ongoing Krishna Basin irrigation projects "without considering 'A' or 'B' schemes".

The Chief Minister said government would not take any decision on Krishna water share till the final order by the Tribunal.

Rainwater or drinking water?

Rainwater or drinking water? -Bangalore-Cities-The Times of India
Coloured and contaminated , this is the only source of drinking water here. The downpour on Thursday brought expected floods, but also ensured temporary supply of drinking water to nearly 300 families.

Residents of Ward 95 - Muneshwarnagar , Kushalnagar, Shadabnagar and parts of RT Nagar - are living with erratic drinking water supply for the past few years. "We have followed it up with the authorities and the MLA since 2000, but in vain,'' says Basha, a social worker from Muneshwarnagar.

Dry taps, corporation tanks surrounded by garbage and out-of-service borewells are the order of the day. Cauvery water supply has been discontinued for over a month now.

"Having regular connections has not helped. We survive on borrowed water. Luckily, Thursday's rain brought us some stock to last a few days,'' says Kasturi, a housewife.

Rajeshwari was unable to have a bath even for Vara Mahalakshmi Puja. Nearly 600 children at the Syedia madrasa in Arabic College, R T Nagar, too have been affected. Madrasa authorities say they buy water in tankers every day. "At times, the supply is hit as garbage and flooded drains prevent entry of vehicles,'' says a madrasa worker. "However, there are many houses with illegal connection which get regular water supply,'' says Fakhruddin.

After failed attempts to get a response from water supply officials and the MLA, nearly 300 residents held a three-hour protest in front of the water tank near Pilamma Garden on Friday.

"The authorities have promised relief within a week but our experience has been bitter,'' says a resident.

No proposal for Alamatti water to Bangalore

‘No proposal for Alamatti water to Bangalore’ -
Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa clarified on Sunday that there was no proposal before the State Government to utilise Alamatti water for drinking purposes in Bangalore.

Yeddyurappa said that every drop of water in Alamatti dam would be utilised for irrigation in North Karnataka.

Speaking to reporters at Alamatti after offering bagina to river Krishna on Sunday, the Chief Minister assured the farmers of Bijapur and Bagalkot districts of implementing all irrigation and minor irrigation tanks filling packages.

He said the flood waters should be harnessed to cater to agricultural needs in the region. He said that a meeting of irrigation experts would be called to prepare a plan for harnessing flood waters.

Stating that Maharahstra had not informed Karnataka in advance about the release of water from dams, he said he would speak to his Mahrashtra counterpart.

The Chief Minister said that the Government plans to introduce a number of reforms to improve the functioning of the administration.

"The Government wants to publish a report every 100 days to create awareness on how many budgetary proposals were implemented," he said.

Expressing concern over deficit rainfall, the Chief Minister said the government would declare the district drought-hit if the monsoon failed. He said that State government was providing financial assistance for farmers to buy seeds and fertilisers.

Yeddyurappa said that he had instructed the officials to hold regular meetings at the hobli level to understand the problems in surrounding villages. Strict transparency should be maintained, Yeddyurappa added

Namma Metro on fast track

Namma Metro on fast track -
Shifting of Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage (BWSSB) pipes has been completed at eight out of 18 locations identified for Reach I.

Krishna river water to Bangalore

Zee News - BJP Krishna river Bangalore
With a view to augmenting drinking water supply to the city, the Karnataka government is considering bringing Krishna river water to Bangalore, State Minister for Excise, IT and BT Katta Subramanya Naidu said.

"We are thinking of laying a pipeline from Alamatti Reservoir in Bagalkot upto to Bangalore to provide drinking water to parts of the city, besides Devanahally which now houses an international airport, Hosakote, Nelamangala, Anekal and Magadi, which are part of Bangalore rural district", he told reporters here today.

The distance between Alamatti to the city is about 430 km. "Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa has been apprised of the project and a decision will be taken in about a fortnight", Naidu, who is also in-charge of Bangalore Development along with Transport Minister R Ashok, said.

The work on the final phase of the Rs 3328 crore Japanese Bank of International Cooperation (JBIC) Cauvery fourth state drinking water project was expected to start from this year end and completed in about two years.

He said the government was planning to seek Rs 5328 crore JBIC aid for taking up Lake Development, Conservation and reuse of water in Bangalore.

Certain modifications to Excise Act was being contemplated to boost revenue earnings to the state, he said adding that in the last four months about Rs 9000 crore has been collected.

fourth stage of Cauvery Water Supply to Bangalore project will begin in December

Water project will start in December -Bangalore-Cities-The Times of India
Bangalore: Work on the fourth stage of Cauvery Water Supply to Bangalore project will begin in December and be completed in two years.

Minister Katta Subramanya Naidu told reporters here on Saturday water from the Torekadanahalli reservoir and treatment plant will be supplied to the city. The Centre has cleared work on the project and the funding pattern . "We will get a soft loan of Rs 3,328 crore from the Japan Bank of International Co-operation for this,'' he said.

The Centre has also agreed to a project aimed at conserving and developing lakes in the city and reusing water. It has sought a detailed project report.

The state has requested the Centre to clear a plan to provide reused water to fringe areas like KR Puram and Mahadevapura . This could be taken up under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission at a cost of Rs 308 crore. The Centre's share is 35%, while the state will bear 15% of the cost. The remaining amount will be covered by loans. "The Centre has agreed to consider the project,'' he said.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Makaan compound residents get contaminated water again

The Hindu : Front Page : Makaan compound residents get contaminated water again
Residents of Makaan compound in Bharatinagar have been getting discoloured and stinking water through their taps for the past eight days.

A five-year-old child, Ismail Khan, is down with vomiting and diarrhoea and several others are complaining of uneasiness and nausea.

Nasreen Khan, mother of the affected child, said, “When we took Ismail to Bowring Hospital, the doctors ignored us. So we took him to a private hospital where he was admitted for a day. It all happened because Ismail drank water directly from the tap without my knowledge,” said Ms. Khan, whose husband is a roadside fruit vendor.
Pleas unheard

This is the third time that water contamination has been reported from the area in six months.

In January, at least 50 people from this area were admitted to the Isolation Hospital with symptoms of gastroenteritis.

Following the intervention of the former area councillor M. Pari, BBMP personnel turned up and removed the muck and silt from the open drains, only to dump it right on the road.

“But this has only added to our problems as the muck has spread all over the road after it rained. We are living amidst filth and squalor and are also forced to consume dirty water. The officials can spend crores on major projects, but hesitate to spend a few lakhs on changing our pipes. We are fed up,” said Shanta Kumari, another resident.

The jurisdictional BWSSB officials admitted that sewage had got mixed with drinking water in the area. “Most of the water lines are criss-crossing sewage lines here. Some even pass through storm-water drains. This is because the residents have not bothered to route the water supply lines in a proper manner. Following the damage of one main water line, sewage has entered the entire network resulting in contamination,” N. Satish, BWSSB Assistant Executive Engineer for High Grounds Sub-Division, said.

He said water supply to the area had been stopped and that the problem would be set right by Wednesday evening.

Monday, August 11, 2008

B'lore gets its first eco-friendly campus

Moneycontrol >> News >> Features >> B'lore gets its first eco-friendly campus
A Bangalore-based developer has built an entire campus that is self-sustainable. Steel and cement are pass�. Residential complexes in Bangalore are all set to turn green. BCIL's (Biodiversity Conservation of India limited) T-ZED or Total Zero Energy Development community is one of Bangalore's first eco-friendly living spaces. It is a campus with no external water supply, or sewage disposal system and makes sure that everything is used and re-used in-house.

Amit Chauhan, BCIL said, "This campus can be called as a blend of conventional construction practice and alternative construction approach where we have used materials that are more eco-friendly and low on embodied energy. Concrete which is very high energy item has been either replaced or the total usage has been reduced."

If you're used to the good life and can't do without your air conditioners running overtime in summer, take cheer, for these homes come designed with eco-friendly refrigerators and air-conditioners. The electronics use more traditional cooling materials that don't burn a hole in the ozone or your pockets and residents pay 30% less on power and 20% less on monthly maintenance, when compared to similar residential complexes.

And if that isn't reason enough to go green, their new projects will come with a conscience meter that will constantly remind you of how much water and electricity you're wasting.

Groundwater business thriving sans regulation -Bangalore-Cities-The Times of India

Groundwater business thriving sans regulation -Bangalore-Cities-The Times of India
BANGALORE: Acute surface water shortage and inept supply agencies are fuelling a boom in non-regulated groundwater markets in the state. The dependence on groundwater has risen to 51%, 30% and 37% in Hubli, Dharwad and Belgaum respectively. Kolar almost entirely depends on groundwater, while the sampled ward in Bangalore - covering areas like Nagarbhavi and Chandra Layout - had 873 tubewells in an area of just 2.9 sq km. In the ward, inequity and depleting groundwater tables are key concerns.

A new study, 'Urban water supply services : Case studies of five cities in Karnataka' , by K V Raju, S Manasi and Latha N of the Centre for Ecological Economics and Natural Resources, Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC) sampled the cities of Hubli-Dharwad , Belgaum, Kolar and Ward No. 39 of Bangalore city. About 7,300 households were surveyed and 756 groundwater samples analyzed.

The levels of dependence on groundwater are reflected in the borewell business which has an annual turnover of Rs 50 crore in Hubli, Dharwad and Belgaum. Bagepalli taluk in Kolar tops the list with a Rs 12 crore turnover.

The proposed state policy to regulate borewells is still being worked upon. "Since there's no regulation for digging of borewells, these businesses are posing major threats to water tables. In places like Kolar, borewell water samples showed high levels of contamination ,'' said Manasi.

Modest estimates show that more than 2,000 borewells have been drilled in Dharwad, while in Hubli, the figure is over 5,000. The groundwater markets, along with the businesses of tankers, borewell drillers, packaged drinking water and accessories like pumps and storage gadgets add to the boom.

The demand of water in Hubli and Dharwad is 90 MLD (million litres per day) and 45.16 MLD respectively. The agencies supply about 25.6 MLD and 19.2 MLD, exclusive of the 40% of the unaccounted-for water. Groundwater (9 MLD in Hubli and 3 MLD in Dharwad) is also supplied. In Kolar, there is a nearly 40% gap between supply and demand. Researchers found that in Belgaum, the issues are more management-related .

In Hubli, Dharwad and Belgaum, 42%, 45% and 22% of samples analyzed were classified as non-potable . In Kolar, the figure is a startling 97%. The city registered high levels of fluoride and nitrate contamination.