It may be a wet Dussehra and Durga puja in Bangalore


Bangalore : Bangaloreans are hoping the skies will not open up over the next three days and spoil the Dussehra and Durga puja festivities in the city which has been lashed by heavy rains in the last two days.

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Weather officials are not holding out any hope as they predict heavy showers to continue till the end of September.

After nearly a week of overcast skies and record downpour Wednesday and Thursday, it was sunny Friday afternoon.

On Thursday, the city recorded 42.7 mm rainfall. The previous day it was 66.8 mm rainfall, as per data available with meteorological department.

“The next few days will see over 70 mm of rainfall in Bangalore and other parts of Karnataka,” director of meteorological department A. Muthuchami told IANS Friday.

“The southwest monsoon will continue till the end of September after which the northeast monsoon will take over. So immediate respite from the showers is unlikely,” he added.

The normal rainfall in Bangalore in September is 200 mm.

“If it continues to rain, celebrations will surely be affected, as revellers would find it hard to hop puja pandals with roads waterlogged in Bangalore,” said Ramol Mukherjee at a puja pandal set up by the Bengalee Association of Bangalore, one of the oldest groups organising Durga Puja in the city.

Around 20 different groups, mostly consisting of Bengali speaking people of Bangalore, organise Durga puja celebrations.

Two days of continuous heavy rains have brought misery to people in low lying areas of the city with several houses flooded. One house built on the banks of a water drain in Nagarbhavi area, about 20 km from the city centre, collapsed late Wednesday. The family members were away at that time.

It has been a harrowing time for commuters with roads turned into pools as clogged drains could not cope with the rain water.

Both Wednesday and Thursday, commuters were stuck in traffic snarls for more than three hours at several places in the city, including the upscale Mahatma Gandhi Road and Brigade in central business district.

At Shankarnagar in the low and middle-class Mahalakshmi Layout, about 10 km from the city centre, around 50 houses were flooded late Thursday.

“We’re poor people. All my household goods, including some stored food materials have been damaged, as water entered my home,” said a hapless Sekhar Mohan, a 49-year-old auto rickshaw driver at Shankarnagar.

“It is unimaginable. In India’s tech city, a spell of rain causes huge traffic jams and houses gets waterlogged. It seems Bangalore has nobody to look after its infrastructure,” rued Sudha Sahai, an IT professional.

Urban affairs and Transport Minister R. Ashok blamed the officials of Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) or the Greater Bangalore City Corporation for poor handling of the situation.

The minister has directed BBMP officials to work round the clock to upgrade the city’s infrastructure, so that it can handle such heavy spell of rain.

BBMP Commissioner Bharathlal Meena told reporters: “We’re providing food and shelter to slum dwellers, whose houses have been flooded. We have also opened up 60 community centres across the city to take care of affected people.”