Once a wetland, now buried under construction debris

heaping on:Local sources say that on busy days, more than 500 trucks of debris can be seen on the wetland between Kalkere and Ramapura lakes. —Photo : Sudhakara Jain.  

It resembles a war zone, but it is not one. Just a large tract of wetland between Kalkere and Ramapura lakes, which is now home to mounds of construction debris.

The mounds can be seen right from Avalahalli Main Road, while part of Pete Krishnappa Layout hosts more debris. In between the hills of waste, a drainage line snakes through.

According to civic officials, these lakebeds and the wetland between the lakes have turned into hotspots for dumping construction debris from north and east Bengaluru. The norms state that construction debris should be dumped only at the eight abandoned quarries designated for the purpose on the outskirts of the Bengaluru.

The dumping has been going on for over a year, but the pace appears to have picked up recently.

Narayanappa, a watchman in one of the sheds in the area, says more than 500 trucks full of debris can be seen on busy days. “It is like a business. The villagers have sold their farm land, and the buyers are looking for ways to fill up the land. They charge up to Rs. 500 for large trucks to just dump the debris,” he says.

With this, the wetland topography has been eroded and the lakebeds feared to be encroached. Senior civic officials concede that the debris-dumping exercise is the standard method to “morph” the topography of nala lands, wetlands and lakebeds for encroachment. They also suspect that lobbies were at play here. The legislative committee on lake encroachment has recorded more than 20 acres of encroachment in the revenue area.

G. Vidyasagar, CEO of the Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Authority, says the authority had sent a report on the dumping of debris around these lakes to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, seeking immediate action. If no action is taken, the authority will move to take criminal action, he adds.

Ramparasad, of Friends of Lakes, says it is crucial to preserve Kalkere and Rampura lakes, not just for their own sake, but also to preserve the Yelemallappa Chetty lake downstream, which caters to the drinking water needs of Hoskote town.

The dumping has been going on for over a year, but the pace appears to have picked up recently

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