India’s tech hub Bengaluru flooded after days of torrential rains

Many parts of the southern city are under water for a second day, bringing traffic chaos, power cuts and flooded properties.

Bengaluru floods
Members of a rescue team row their boat past submerged vehicles following torrential rains in Bengaluru [Samuel Rajkumar/Reuters]

Life has been disrupted for many in the southern Indian city of Bengaluru after two days of torrential rains set off long traffic snarls, widespread power cuts and heavy floods that swept into homes and submerged roads.

Many parts of the city, dubbed India’s tech capital, were under water for a second day on Tuesday as more rain fell in an unusually wet monsoon season.

The southern metropolis of about 8.5 million in Karnataka state boomed in the 1990s and is home to several outsourcing and software companies in the “back office of the world”.

But the city’s companies have complained that infrastructure development has not kept up, with perennial traffic jams and unplanned construction on the dried-up beds of lakes leading to frequent flooding even after moderate rainfall.

“To be honest, every year we do see floods in some part of the city or other but the extent that we have seen this time is unprecedented,” Indian journalist Pooja Prasanna told Al Jazeera.

“Thanks to climate change and unplanned urban infrastructure, the situation seems to be getting worse.”

Bengaluru floods
People pull a car through a water-logged road in Bengaluru [Reuters]

On Monday, authorities deployed rubber dinghies to ferry people around and footage on social media showed tractors being used to transport travellers from the airport.

The Outer Ring Road Companies Association (ORRCA), the umbrella group for the IT sector, advised employees to work from home while many schools and colleges were shut.

Authorities have warned of interruptions to the water supply. Social media videos showed some residents struggling to empty out flooded basements and shops. Boats were deployed to rescue people submerged in floodwaters.

“The situation continues to remain alarming in some parts of the city,” Prasanna told Al Jazeera.

Bengaluru floods
A view of a flooded area after heavy rainfall in Bengaluru [Kashif Masood/AP]

The state chief minister said some areas in the city saw 150 percent more rain than usual in the first week of September, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.

Bengaluru’s water supply company said on Monday it would stop the supply of water to more than 50 areas in the city for two days after a pumping station that brings in water from 100km (60 miles) away was flooded.

The Bangalore Urban district, which is home to most of the city’s offices, on Monday received 79.2mm (3.1 inches) of rain, according to data from the India Meteorological Department (IMD).

The IMD said the south of the Indian peninsula will continue to see heavy and isolated rainfall over the next five days.

“Honestly, the traffic situation in Bengaluru is always bad but this is now another level,” said one back-office employee for food delivery company Swiggy, requesting to stay anonymous.

“It’s worse than ever before because of how many people have rushed back to the city after COVID. The infrastructure can’t take the strain,” he said.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies