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Kukkarahalli Lake set to regain its glory

By Our Staff Correspondent

The Kukkarahalli Lake, a jewel in the crown of Mysore.

MYSORE, JULY 22. The picturesque Kukkarahalli Lake here is set to regain its pristine glory as the authorities will submit a proposal to the Lake Development Authority for funds towards its management and conservation on a sustainable basis.

This was decided at a meeting of stakeholders, including members of the Kukkarahalli Lake Conservation Committee, non-governmental organisations and prominent citizens.

The meeting was convened by the University of Mysore which is vested with the ownership of the lake.

If approved, the proposal will go a long way in the upkeep of the lake and its ecosystem.

J. Shashidhar Prasad, Vice-Chancellor of the university, who chaired the meeting, said the first phase of the lake restoration work had been completed with funds from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The need of the hour was to find funds to maintain and conserve it on a sustained basis.

Prof. Prasad said the work carried out in the first phase included widening of the bund on the southern side, forming a new walkway on the western side, improving the eastern and the northern pathway, fencing of the lake perimeter, and lighting arrangement along the southern bund.

He said the entry of sewage into the lake had been stopped. The precincts of the lake were embellished and beautified following which it had became a favourite spot among the local people.

But the growing popularity and the increase in the number of people visiting the lake had put a strain on the ecology of the habitat.

Hence, the need to discuss ways and means to generate resources to conserve the lake and its environment on a sustainable basis, he added. It was in this context that the idea of approaching the Lake Development Authority for funds was mooted by Jagannath, environmental scientist, he said.

U.N. Ravikumar, Director, Centre for Appropriate Rural Technologies (CART), National Institute of Engineering, stressed the importance of clearing encroachments along the feeder channel. It was pointed out that the feeder channel was the only source of fresh water inflow into the lake and clearing the encroachments would augment the inflow by at least 20 per cent. With the catchment area of the lake being meagre, the imperatives of maintaining the feeder channel were recognised by the authorities as evident in the dramatic improvement in the quality of water in the Karanji Lake whose feeder channel was restored by the Zoo authorities recently.

The Commissioner of the Mysore Urban Development Authority (MUDA) promised to consider the development of the Kukkarahalli Lake's feeder channel and place the proposal before the authorities concerned.

The Chairman of the Mysore Agenda Task Force, R. Guru, said botanists, including Sadanand and institutions such as CART-NIE and environmental scientists such as Jagannath could prepare a project on the ways and means of treating wastewater and development of the wetland.

Mr. Jagannath stressed the importance of planting trees on the periphery of the lakes, while Prof. Sadanand emphasised the importance of preserving biodiversity.

The university Syndicate member, Venkatesh, said the Mysore City Corporation and the MUDA had a role to play in the upkeep of the lake and urged them to allocate funds towards its maintenance.

The Executive Director of Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens, Kumar Pushkar, suggested that a nominal fee be levied on the users as they too had a role in maintaining the lake.

He referred to the Karanji Lake, which was restored by the zoo authorities, and said visitors were charged a nominal fee towards the maintenance of the lake's precincts.

The editor of Star of Mysore, K.B. Ganapathy, said corporate bodies should chip in funds for the maintenance of the lake.

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