Raining Misery

Here in Bangalore we have had the driest ever July and almost the wettest ever August and now we seem to be well on our way to setting a new wet record for September. Somehow it just never rains but pours. Which is all very well if the authorities had their act together. But then, the authorities may question “What act?” Everything is going the way it is meant to go, which is literally down the drain. The whole problem is that it is the infrastructure going down the drain and not the stuff that is actually supposed to. The rain waters swilling and swirling around the streets have a good mix of garbage in it, for extra zest and flavour; like an interestingly concocted soup straight out of a witch’s cauldron. The only thing lacking is probably a couple of drops of dragon blood but perhaps the dead snakes will do.

The pitifully few lakes which are left in Bangalore are breaching their banks or foaming with abandon. This may sound exciting per se but when you consider that it is pollutants and chemicals that are causing the foam, the picture loses its charm. The best part of it is that while the foaming was ignored for years, its only when it spilled over and started attacking passing cars and nearby flats, attracting national and international attention, that the local government deigned to acknowledge there was something of the sort happening. The foam of course is coming from the chemicals let into the lake by the industries in the area but those of course are part of the unholy nexus of industries, the municipal corporation, the pollution control board and the ever present politicians. Not surprisingly, the authorities thought the best way to handle the situation was to threaten to file cases against the very apartments that were complaining, for letting out partially treated sewage into the lake. This in their wisdom was the most effective way of taking care of the problem.

And then we have the problem of the low lying areas which get flooded over and over again. The only difficulty is that the water is behaving in the way it should, it’s just the city which has spilled over the lake beds. Of course the government is not to be blamed for the permissions given to construct buildings and concretise the lakes. It just somehow happened by magic.

The only thing larger than the problem of inundation is the ego of each department of the government that needs to take care of the issue. It’s beneath their dignity to talk to each other so they delay while things spiral out of control and then the sun comes out and it all dries up until the cycle repeats next year. The most obvious post the government needs to start filling is that of coordinator of departments and assuager of big egos. Anyone applying for the job?



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