Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Wednesday promised to set up a lake development authority to conserve rural lakes, on the lines of one that exists for protecting lakes in and around Bangalore and other cities in the State.
Inaugurating a workshop on rejuvenation of rural lakes, organised by the Department of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) here, the Chief Minister said that the government is committed to clear encroachments from lakes and tank beds in the State and rejuvenate them on priority.
Of the 37,000 lakes in the rural areas, 12,000 have dried up due to bad maintenance. Work on rejuvenating them would be taken up in the first phase of the programme, he added.
According to a conservative estimate, over 4,500 tanks have been encroached upon in the State. “All steps will be taken to clear encroachments, after conducting a survey by experts,” he said. Holding the successive governments and bureaucracy responsible for the disappearance of tanks, Mr. Siddaramaiah cautioned that the rural areas might face a water crisis in the days to come, if corrective steps were not taken.
In 42 months
Participating in the programme, Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj H.K. Patil said that the work to rejuvenate tanks and lakes would be completed in the next 42 months.
He asked the authorities concerned to protect lakes and tanks in their region and be cautious against land sharks who were eager to encroach upon them. “They have to take all steps to clear encroachments from existing lakes,” he said.
Rajendra Singh, water conservationist from Rajasthan, suggested community participation in preserving and conserving lakes. The district administration should be held responsible for encroachment of lakes, he added.