Friday 16 November 2012

The sewage that floods our Anjeneya

It is one of the most famous temples of Bangalore and hundreds of devotees flock to it every day. The number goes up substantially on Sundays and holidays.
A few decades ago, anyone entering Bangalore from Mysore Road would first go to the temple and then enter the City. Politicians, businessmen and industrialists made it a point to seek the blessings of the deity and then start out on their ventures.
The temple became so famous that its fame spread far and wide. Alas, for the last few years, the temple has seen an annual occurrence that it could do without. Every time it rained, the storm water drain next to the temple overflowed and entered the temple premises.
The last several years have seen sewage water and garbage from the storm water drain flow into the temple and even enter the sanctum sanctorum. Several Chief Ministers right from the time of  Dharam Singh, H.D. Kumara Swamy and  B.S. Yeddyuruppa have come and gone but there seems no end to the problem.
It is only this time or rather this year when Bangalore received less than average rains that the Gali Anjeneya Temple on Mysore Road did not have any major problem of flooding.
The Gali Anjeneya Temple is one of the oldest temples in Bangalore and the Madhwa saint Vyasa Theertha of Vyasaraja Matha consecrated the idol of Hanuman more than five hundred years ago.
This was one of the 732 Hanuman temples that Vyasa Theertha consecrated all over India. While several hundred Anjeneyas were consecrated in Penukonda, Bangalore has several Vyasa Prathistha Hanuman temples.
The Hanuman Temple opposite the Minto Eye hospital, the Kote Anjeneya Temple, the Pranadevaru Temple at JP Nagar 6th Block, and the beautiful and recently renovated temple of Hanuman near Yelahanka on the Yelahanka-Doddaballapur road are some of the other structures consecrated centuries ago by Vyasa Theertha.
The Gali Anjeneya Temple stands adjacent to the Vrishabhavathi river which today is nothing more than a storm water drain. With  almost all this drain network clogged by debris and sewage, the drainage water inundated the temple regularly and the Vrishabhavathi regularly breached the compound wall.
The filth and garbage had to be cleaned up from the temple regularly and even the priests had to lend a helping hand in this exercise.
Though several promise were made to rectify the issue, none of them seem to have gone to the root of the problem. It was only some time back that an elected representative from Bangalore took time off to look into the issue and suggest a simple solution.
One of the Members of the Legislative Council (MLC), Ashwathnarayanam decided to see why and how the waters from the storm water drain and the Vrishabhavathi enter the temple.
He went around the network of drains and canals that lead to the Vrishibhavati river and found that the flooding occurred due to a simple reason.
He found that one of the major canals from the Kempambhudhi lake, which is behind Kempegowda Nagar, was the reason for the frequent flooding.  The flood gates lake, which is upstream, were kept open to ensure that water did not stagnate in the lake.
So when rains came and water started collecting in the lake, it immediately moved out towards the Vrishabhavathi river. Thus, instead of holding excess rain water, the Kempembudhi Lake discharged more and more water, swelling the Vrishabhavathi river.
Already filled with garbage and debris, the river would overflow the embankment at Gali Anjeneya Temple and enter the structure.   
Another problem is that the Kempambudhi lake is connected by a network of drains from nearby Gavipuram Guttahalli, Chamarajpet, Shankarpuram, Basavanagudi and surrounding areas including Hanumanthanagar, Srinagar and other localities.
It is estimated that during the monsoon, these drains pump in at least 1850 cusecs of water  every day into the lake. And almost the entire quantity goes out as the crest gates of the tank is kept open.
The civic authorities have hot upon a solution to ensure that the temple is not flooded. They have decided to close the gate and let out water from the tank only after it fills up to a certain extent. This step would lessen the pressure on the Vrishabhvathi and also lead to steady discharge of water, avoiding flooding of  the temple. 

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