The Mangalore City Corporation on Monday formally began rejuvenating the Gujjara Kere, an old lake at Jeppu here.

The silt in the tank was last removed during March-April, 2002 by the Department of Minor Irrigation.

The contractor was emptying water in the lake on Monday.

The lake is not being used by people.

K.N. Vijayaprakash, Commissioner of the corporation, told The Hindu that the lake would be rejuvenated at an estimated cost of Rs. 2 crore.

The first phase of works, which began on Monday, was estimated to cost Rs. 99.5 lakh. The second phase was estimated to cost Rs. 1 crore. A proposal to this effect had been sent to the Government and approval was awaited, he said.

M.K. Bhasker, Executive Engineer of the corporation, said the first phase of the works included removal of silt and strengthening of the bund on one side of the lake. Seating arrangements would be made on the bund and steps would be created on the inner ring of the lake, he said. Mr. Bhasker said that the contractor had been given two months to complete the first phase.

The office-bearers of the Gujjara Kere Tirtha Samrakshana Vedike, an action committee formed by the residents of Jeppu to fight for the lake’s rejuvenation, have been urging the Government for over six years for the rejuvenation.

According to P. Nemu Kottari, secretary of the vedike, a recent survey conducted by the Mangalore taluk office had brought to light encroachment of 10.43 cents of the 3.43-acre lake.

The survey was conducted on May 14 and June 24, 2009, acting on a demand by the vedike, he said.

Quoting the survey report, Mr. Kottari said that an anganwadi building and a petty shop had been built in the lake area. In addition, three private parties had encroached upon the lake area. A part of the lake area had also been used for laying a road on one side, the report said.

Mr. Kottari said that, if maintained properly, the lake could meet the entire drinking water needs of the city. According to him, the wells in nearly 800 houses around the lake have never gone dry because the tank water recharges the water table.

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