Special Correspondent

Bangalore: Many of the lakes in Bangalore have disappeared along with their water spreads, and condition of many more lakes will worsen if the State Government does not get its acts together, revealed a research study.

Privatisation of lakes has to be reviewed in the light of the cases of encroachment by lease-holders for expanding their buildings. There were cases wherein private lease-holders were found to overuse the lakes for commercial purposes and also encroach on them for expanding their activities, said a study published by the city-based Institute for Social and Economic Change.

It suggested creation of tank users' groups (TUGs), members of which can be trained by Lake Development Authority (LDA) in matters of maintenance, for rejuvenation of lakes. “It is the right time to take back leased out lakes from different agencies and departments, and entrust the same to the local residents for maintenance on the lines of TUGs in rural areas,” said the study titled “Vanishing Lakes: A Study of Bangalore City” authored by P. Thippaiah, associate professor of the institute.

The survey revealed that city's planners have breached several tanks and utilised their beds and drainages for forming residential layouts, construction of roads, public offices and shopping complexes, without any concern for the consequences such as flooding during monsoon.

It said the rapid growth of information technology (IT), IT-enabled services, corporate sector and other business establishments in Bangalore has caused rapid urbanisation, affecting several tanks. The research, funded by Sir Ratan Tata Deferred Endowment Fund, found that the available data with the Water Resources Department and the Directorate of Economics and Statistics surprisingly neither show any decline in the number of lakes nor irrigation potential created, in sharp contrast to the actual situation on the ground.

“Besides this, the data on several aspects is missing,” it said. “Even the existing information on various aspects shows wide variations across sources. For instance, the information on water-spread area of 125 lakes varies across sources.”

The Government should take action against individuals and companies who encroach on the tanks in collusion with officials. The LDA has “failed” to prevent encroachments, it said.