Neglected Devanur lake cries for attention

Even as the district administration has signed an MoU with corporate bodies for the protection of Bommanahalli and Hebbal lakes in Mysuru, the Devanur lake, situated between N.R. Mohalla and Udayagiri, has been reduced to a sewage dump and has become a source of concern for residents of nearby localities.

A few decades ago, Devanur lake served as a reservoir for irrigating nearby lands and attracted a variety of migratory birds. But, its continued neglect, accompanied by rapid urbanisation, has choked the fresh water feeder canals and flooded the lake with sewage.

The lake now enjoys the dubious distinction of being listed as the only waterbody in the city under the “red alert” category as part of a recent study conducted by the Environment Management and Policy Research Institute, which functions under the Department of Forests. The study titled ‘Evolving sustainable conservation strategies for water of Mysuru-Nanjangud local planning area’ covered 106 waterbodies in the area.

A stormwater drain from Ghousia Nagar, Rajiv Nagar and Udayagiri — into which scores of underground drainage (UGD) pipelines are released — enters Devanur lake, which is filled with weeds and silt. Apart from an unbearable stench, the lake is a source of mosquito menace with residents living in fear of contracting vector-borne diseases such as dengue, chikungunya and malaria. “The lake is a health hazard. Our pleas to the authorities have fallen on deaf ears. We are planning a peaceful demonstration near the lake to draw the attention of the authorities,” said Azhar Mohammed, a resident of Christian Colony.

He said there was no response to his representations to the Mysuru Urban Development Authority (MUDA) officials. But, Minister for Primary and Secondary Education Tanvir Sait, who represents the constituency, had responded: “Since long, sewage has been let openly into this waterbody. A fresh detailed project report has been prepared by MUDA and we will soon develop the lake into a tourist centre.”

An earlier effort to renovate the lake at a cost of Rs. 4.07 crore in 2009-10 was abandoned midway and MCC was directed by the State government to take action against engineers responsible for botching up the project, which envisaged constructing a sewage treatment plant, removal of silt, besides beautification of the lake.

Though a stormwater drain was constructed, it remains dry as the main drain enters directly into the lake.

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 8:17:55 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/Neglected-Devanur-lake-cries-for-attention/article16725376.ece

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