Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Monday ordered an inquiry into encroachments on lakes and storm water drains in Bengaluru, two weeks after parts of the city was flooded due to heavy rains, PTI reported.
Bommai told the state Assembly that a team comprising a judicial officer and two technical experts will conduct the inquiry. He also announced that a special task force will be formed to ensure that storm water drains are constructed in accordance to government norms.
The task force will ensure that drains are constructed properly in the next two to three years, the chief minister added.
Parts of Bengaluru were inundated following heavy rains on September 4 and September 5. Visuals from the city showed waterlogged roads, flooding inside residential areas, while several persons were evacuated from their homes on boats and tractors.
The floods had damaged several homes and disrupted traffic and water and power supply in the city.
On Monday, Bommai said that there was strict action is needed so that such floods do not recur.
“We have to remove encroachments, but influential people interfere and do politics,” the chief minister told the Assembly, according to PTI. “We will remove encroachments mercilessly because if we don’t take harsh steps, there will be flooding again in Bengaluru.”
Bommai said that he has approved Rs 600 crore for the development of the state capital, including Rs 300 crore for remodelling storm water drains. He added that he has directed civic authorities to set up sewage treatment to prevent waste water from polluting lakes.
On September 13, the Karnataka High Court had stated that the flooding took place due to the failure of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike to remove all encroachments on storm water drains.
A week before the High Court’s observation, Bommai had blamed the previous Congress government for the floods in Bengaluru. The Congress was in power in Karnataka from 2013 to 2018.
“This happened because of maladministration and totally unplanned administration of the previous Congress government,” Bommai had alleged. “They never thought of maintaining the lakes. They gave permission right, left and centre in the lakes and buffer zone.”
However, Congress state president DK Shivakumar had alleged that the “corrupt BJP government” and its officials were responsible for the situation.