Domestic workers

Bangalore rains render several domestic workers homeless

In Bendapalaya, when it rains heavily, waste from the landfill enters the sewers, clogging them and causing flooding.

Nothing reveals the sad state of Bengaluru’s infrastructure like the rains do. A week of continuous downpours in Bangalore has taken its toll on many of its underprivileged residents. Homes of hundreds of domestic and construction workers, daily wage earners and slum dwellers residing in areas such as Bandepalya, Nanjappa Garden, Vannarpet and Kadarenahalli are flooded and some slums have collapsed completely rendering them homeless .

Shobha is a domestic worker who lives in the Vannarpet area and the sole earner in a family of four. “The rain flooded our house and we are forced to live in lodges despite less income. Our neighbours’ houses have collapsed and ours are in danger of collapsing if it continues to rain. We informed the authorities, they clicked on the pictures of our houses but we heard nothing more from them,” she said.

Bandepalya is also home to a huge landfill. When it rains, the waste from this landfill enters the sewers and the sewer pipes which clog them. Clogged drains and sewer lines along with reduced stormwater drainage capacity due to rapid urbanization are some of the major reasons for waterlogging in Bengaluru.

Radha is a domestic worker living in Bandepalya. She, like Shobha, is also the sole breadwinner as her husband is physically disabled. “It’s been a week since my house was flooded, but we haven’t received any help from the government yet. We faced a similar flood two months ago. It gets flooded whenever there is heavy rain,” Radha said.

A flooded house in Vannarpet

“Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has a facility where people whose homes have been flooded by the rains can apply for financial assistance after sending them geotagged photos of their homes. We’ve sent them photos and asked local business leaders for help, but there’s been no response yet. Satish Reddy, the corporator of Bommanahalli even asked why these people are living on public land and they should live somewhere else,” said Geeta Menon, joint secretary of the Domestic Workers Union.

Yashoda P, a grassroots activist who works for the welfare of domestic workers, confirmed that BBMP tax officials have contacted residents of Bandepalya. They have taken details from their documents but it is not yet known when the compensation will reach them and if it will reach them. However, there have been no such developments in other areas.