Bengaluru Floods: Rainfall and Govt Apathy Jolt Lives of Sanitation Workers

In Bengaluru's Munnekolala, pourakarmika settlement is completely flooded due to heavy rainfall overflowing lakes.


Reporter: Ananth Shreyas

Video Editor: Abhishek Sharma & Prajjwal Kumar

The Quint visited the Pourakarmika (sanitation workers) settlement area in Bengaluru's Munnekollala, where incessant rainfall and overflowing lakes have affected more than 1,500 people living in the locality. Despite their homes being flooded for over 50 hours, no efforts have been made by the government to pump the water out. Most houses are also in a very damaged state.


Bengaluru, which recorded over 131.6 mm of rainfall two days ago, came to a standstill after the city witnessed severe flooding and waterlogging. People living in luxurious villas in western region of the silicon valley sought refuse elsewhere as their cars floated in water and living rooms were submerged.

But, just a few kilometres away from the IT corridor, a settlement area of Pourakarmikas (sanitation workers) was also entirely flooded, damaging over 200 shanties. Most people who lived at this settlement area are now living inside makeshift tents with no help from the government or the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).


Sanitation Workers Homeless After Rain Batters Bengaluru

As one enters CS Road and walks towards Thurubarahalli, a strong and foul stench engulfs the air, as the water from the drainage channels and neighbouring lakes has flooded homes of sanitation workers in Munnekollala.

With heavy and incessant rainfall having lashed Bengaluru, heaps of trash and a river of fecal matter started flowing inside the low-lying houses two days ago.

"I was carried on chair by my sons as water started gushing with great speed. Within minutes, my house was damaged and most of it continues to be under water. Today, we are homeless and nowhere else to go."
Akleema Bibi, Munnekollala Resident

Just like 57-year-old Akleema Bibi, more than 1,500 people from 200 different families have lost their shanties which they called dearly as homes.

While the government continues to maintain that the people living in this settlement are illegal occupants, the ragpickers residing here tell The Quint that they have been paying rent to middlemen who coordinate with the BBMP.

In Bengaluru's Munnekolala, pourakarmika settlement is completely flooded due to heavy rainfall overflowing lakes.

A family of five cross the flooded road in Munnekollala to collect food and other essentials that is being distributed by NGOs and the BBMP.

Photo: Ananth Shreyas

Speaking to The Quint, Mallikarjun Kumar, a BBMP worker said, "Things got worse after water from the neighbouring apartment complexes was pumped out which entered our homes. All our belongings have washed away in drain water. We are being given only food, and nobody wants to talk about our homes and livelihood."

The collective of BBMP workers and ragpickers backed by All India Central Council of Trade Unions also demanded that the administration provide relief and immediate compensation to those who have lost their homes.


Rain Fury Forces Sanitation Workers To Sleep Inside Cramped Makeshift Tents

With most homes either getting submerged or damaged, the residents of Munnekollala fled overnight with their belongings. Mothers carried their children, while the men in the family ensured that essentials were brought to safer areas.

As of now, over 150 families have put up tents using tarpaulin sheet provided by a local NGO in Bengaluru. With very little space for everybody, around 10 people are sharing the tent, as there is no hope from the government to restore their damaged home.

In Bengaluru's Munnekolala, pourakarmika settlement is completely flooded due to heavy rainfall overflowing lakes.

Makeshift tents at Munnekollala pourakarmika (sanitary workers) settlement in Bengaluru.

(Photo: Ananth Shreyas/ The Quint)

In an interaction with The Quint, Shahuddin Ali said, "I came to Bengaluru seven years ago and have been working as a mechanic since then. I also gathered some money from home and built a small shanty for a family of four. Today, we are living with our neighbours inside a tent. I don't know if I will be able to build another home for ourselves."

The Bengali family living in this settlement for the past seven years also claimed that the people in Munnekollala did not have access to water for 24 hours and that children starved due to lack of food supplies.

Demanding Rs 50,000 per family as disaster compensation, the flood-affected families in the settlement, also request the authorities to give free rations and basic facilities such as clothing, bedsheets, mattresses, and health service in relief shelters.

In Bengaluru's Munnekolala, pourakarmika settlement is completely flooded due to heavy rainfall overflowing lakes.

Homes flooded in Munnekollala settlement in Bengaluru.

(Photo: Ananth Shreyas/ The Quint)

Meanwhile, Aleema Bibi who was rushing to save herself from rising water levels, hurt herself, as a glass piece pierced through both her feet. Unable to move any further and with losing excessive blood, the 47-year-old was taken to clinic by her husband without any assistance.

"The only thing we got was food. There was no medical assistance or any kind of help from the authorities. My wife hurt her leg, the kids in the neighbourhood also suffered from high fever and other infections. But, nobody seems to care about us," said Bibi's husband to The Quint.

Following two days of constant rainfall and flooding, the Outer Ring Road Companies Associations (ORRCA), representing IT and banking firms in the area, met with the chief minister Basavaraj Bommai and the Minister of IT & BT Dr CN Ashwathnarayana.

The government decided to allocate Rs 300 for Bengaluru alone to tackle flood issues, and carried out demolition drives of illegal buildings. However, no relief or compensation has been given to residents of Munnekollal, where 1,500 people are still waiting for the water to recede so that they can go back to their homes.

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Topics:  Floods   Pourakarmikas   Bengaluru Rains 

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