A first look at the Allalasandra Lake in Yelahanka presents a pretty picture: a joggers’ path, a park and benches for people to rest. On closer inspection, one finds that all is not well. Sewage flows freely into the lake with the drain mesh proving woefully inadequate to filter out the pollutants . The stench that lingers along the periphery of the lake bears testimony to this.

Venkatamma’s family, which lives along a row of sheds on one side of the lake, relives misery every time it rains. She says the entire set-up goes awry when it rains and the dirty water from the lake overflows and enters her house. “We have been living here for two years now. When it rains, we stack up everything in the house over each other,” she rues.

On the other side of the drain, Ananthamma, a construction worker and a resident of the area for nearly three decades, voices the despair of her neighbours when she speaks about the lack of a basic amenity in the area: a bathroom.

“We had a bathroom/toilet which we used to share with neighbours. A few months ago, we were away from home. When we returned, the bathroom had been broken down to make way for the drain. We constructed another one only to realise that the chambers had been blocked. We have no other option but to go to desolate, far away places to bathe or relieve ourselves,” said Ananthamma.

C.N. Chandru, who is part of the Yelahanka United Environment Association and a resident of the layout adjacent to the lake, said that the assault of mosquitoes, a result of the dirty water, had led to a dengue outbreak in the area.

“After striving for long, we got the government agencies to beautify the lake. But the April-deadline set by the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) to stop inflow of sewage into the lake, especially from the big apartment complexes, has long passed,” he said.

In October 2013, Upalokayukta S.B. Majage, accompanied by officials of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and BWSSB, inspected the 44-acre lake, following complaints of bad odour from the residents. Mr. Majage directed BWSSB officials to divert the sewage from the lake to the treatment plant which is right outside the lake entrance, which is yet to happen.

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