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Friday, September 17, 2021

Bengaluru: Environmentalists slam BBMP’s 51-crore development plans for Mallathahalli Lake

The BBMP floated a Rs 51-crore tender on Thursday calling for proposals to construct rail bridges, hanging bridges, walkways and a glasshouse at the 72-acre Mallathahalli Lake in Raja Rajeshwari Nagar division.

Written by Aksheev Thakur | Bengaluru |
Updated: August 20, 2021 10:40:28 am
The BBMP lake division had floated a similar tender for the development of the Mallathahalli Lake in 2020 but backtracked after facing a huge backlash from environmentalists. (Express Photo/Representational)

A move by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to develop the Mallathahalli Lake in west Bengaluru with elements like bridges and a glasshouse on the lake bed has drawn the ire of environmental activists.

The BBMP floated a Rs 51-crore tender on Thursday calling for proposals to conceive and construct rail bridges, hanging bridges, walkways and a glasshouse at the 72-acre Mallathahalli Lake in the BBMP’s Raja Rajeshwari Nagar division. Among the work proposed at the lake is a concrete wall costing Rs 32 crore.

“This project is in complete contravention to high court orders that prohibit such activities inside the lake. What is the point of constructing a wall around the lake when there are several lakes in the city which are not even fenced and the government has spent crores on developing them,” said the co-founder of Friends of Lakes, Ram Prasad. The proposal to develop the lake spread over 72 acres goes against a report by Justice NK Patil, a former judge of the Karnataka high court, which stated that the boundaries of lakes should be defined by planting trees, environmentalists said.

“While there is a looming water scarcity this project is shameful. Such projects will impact the water holding capacity of lakes. Lakes recharge groundwater. The project will not stand legal scrutiny,” the founder of the environment group Friends of Lakes said.

“What is the logic followed by BBMP consultants and officials in rejuvenating a lake? The basic principle stated in multiple court orders and even government orders is to restore the natural ecosystem of a lake, not to convert the lake into an amusement park that will destroy the lake,” said Sandeep Aniruddhan, the co-founder of Coalition for Water Security.

Incidentally, the BBMP lake division had floated a similar tender for the development of the Mallathahalli Lake in 2020 but backtracked after facing a huge backlash from environmentalists.

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