After unsuccessful efforts to trace the missing Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagar Palike (BBMP) contract worker in nearby storm water drains, the BBMP has now shifted its attention to the neighbouring Ramanagar District.
The search now moves to tanks and tributaries of the Cauvery. However, according to insider sources, the BBMP has little idea about the body's location and is merely delaying the announcement of its failure to locate the corpse.
The BBMP Assistant Executive Engineer, Storm Water Drain Department, Natesh Babu has been spearheading the operation. Speaking to reporters, he stated that over 250 persons -
including State Disaster Responsive Force, Fire and Emergency Services and National Disaster Responsive Forces - were deputed to search. As of now, the search has zeroed in on Byramangala lake, which is over 500 acres and falls under Minor Irrigation Department.
Earlier, the BBMP had put over 150 of its contract workers in Kumbalgodu and other drains, but now there are only 70 workers, and by the end of Wednesday, the operation is likely to be called off.
“From Kurubarahalli Storm Water Drain, measuring 10 feet breath and over 5 feet in height, the search teams have covered 41 km and reached Byramangala in Bidadi in Ramanagar. By evening we should be able to find the body. If not we, will have to close the operation and file a report to higher authorities,” said Babu.
However, a source from the BBMP assured Asianet Newsable that the BBMP would not be able to find the missing man as the continuous rains after the incident would have washed away the body.
"If they had announced the same on Monday, the BBMP’s incapability would have been exposed. They wanted the people of Bengaluru to forget the issue, and hence the search operations extended to Ramanagar district. By evening, the BBMP will say it failed to trace and will announce compensation to the family,” said the source.
Incidentally, had the BBMP addressed the issue of garbage and sewage pouring into its storm water drains, it might have traced the body sooner. Tonnes of garbage of knee-deep sewage greatly hampered the search.
Keshav, SI, NDRF, who spoke to Asianet Newsable says they have worked in different cities during disasters, but working in Bengaluru during the monsoon was very challenging as they had to work inside sewage filled drains.
He said, "Thermocol and other plastic materials have piled up from Vrushabhavathi valley and reach Byramangala lake bed. People can even walk on the floating material. We suspect the body might have been submerged underneath the thermocol. About 100 truckloads of such waste have hampered our works as our boats cannot move freely, “
Mayor G Padmavathi, who is monitoring search operations, was also convinced that search teams would not be able to trace the missing person as the body might have been washed away in Valley.
“We will stop the search operation and give a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to family members. Later, in the evening, I, along with officers, will visit the victim’s family at Kurubarahalli and ask them to have courage to bear the loss,” she said.