Bengaluru

Residents rue ‘half-hearted’ lake rejuvenation work

Residents are also irked because Boganahalli lake has turned barren after water was pumped out for removal of silt.

Residents are also irked because Boganahalli lake has turned barren after water was pumped out for removal of silt.  

Work on removal of silt at Bhoganahalli lake has been under way for over a year

Heaps of mud dumped on a dying lake’s bed; a broken fence on one end of the shore with garbage and debris strewn across; stagnant rainwater accumulating at points which locals use to wash their clothes; these points were dug up for removal of silt. This is the scene at Bhoganahalli lake, where the BBMP had taken up rejuvenation work a little over a year ago. However, residents call it a half-hearted attempt, with many alleging that the condition of the lake has further deteriorated.

Locals blame lack of planning and apathy for the lake’s ill health. Under the lake rejuvenation project, works such as dredging, fencing, and building of bunds were supposed to be carried out. However, it is more than a year since the removal of silt has been under way.

A.G. Lakshmanan, who moved to an apartment close to Bhoganahalli lake in April 2018, said that in the short span since he began residing in the area, he has seen water levels deplete. “When I approached the BBMP, officials said that the silt removal will be resumed in a month, and that the rejuvenation work would be completed soon. This is their standard response,” he said.

Another resident, Venkatesh B., said, “The contractor has not been able to remove silt from the lake properly. If the BBMP can’t rejuvenate a 12-acre lake then what hope is there for the larger ones,” he said.

Residents, who have been waiting for months to see their small lake revived, are also angry because the lake has fallen barren after water was pumped out for removal of silt. “Is it not their duty and responsibility to finish the work as soon as possible effectively?” they demanded.

Not more than 2 km from Bhoganahalli lake is Panathur lake, where the rejuvenation work is nothing but a cosmetic makeover with a half-completed walking path and fencing. The BBMP had planted saplings, but many of these failed to grow. Work on this lake, too, had started around a year ago. And while the silt removal is on, nothing else has been done. “We have water now because of the rains, but it is temporary,” said residents.

“The borewells around the lake have lost their capacity, and another one attached to government-run water purification plant has dried up. The plant is now dependent on tanker water,” said Babu P.S., a resident of Panathur.

V. Ramaprasad, co-founder and convenor of Friends of Lake, questioned the efficacy of lake rejuvenation initiatives. “They are killing existing lakes. How can you call them lakes if there is no water, and flora and fauna,” he asked, adding that various lakes across the city in Doddanekundi, Kaggadasapura and Doddabommasandra are awaiting water after their own ‘rejuvenation’. The BBMP officials say that the rejuvenation work will be completed soon.

Earlier this year, the palike had decided to rejuvenate 20 more lakes in the city, including Kalkere-Rampura and Hulimavu. The rejuvenation work will be be undertaken with the funds the State government granted in the 2018-19 Budget.

“An urban lake with fresh rainwater has become a rarity as almost all rajakaluves (stormwater drains) in the city are flowing with raw sewage. Hence, urban lakes being filled with tertiary-treated water is the only solution and one that has to be accepted. Rejuvenation should therefore be planned accordingly. The BBMP should keep all this in mind and then take up rejuvenation work,” said Mr. Ramprasad.

Public notice on grievance redressal

The Urban Development Department issued a public notice issued stating that it has established a grievance redressal mechanism with the aim of protecting lakes. Complaints can be registered by calling on the toll free number 080-44554455 or sending a WhatsApp message to 09739184712 or emailing lakeconservation.gok@gmail.com.

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Printable version | Mar 24, 2020 10:30:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/residents-rue-half-hearted-lake-rejuvenation-work/article29419620.ece

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