Spread in over 18 acres, Bhattarahalli lake in Mahadevapura zone is one of the smallest lakes in KR Puram, Bengaluru on which the civic body Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has spent more than four years to restore it. But even today neither the walkway nor the fencing work has been done.
The custody of the lake was handed over to BBMP from Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) in 2015. The civic body took up the restoration of the lake three years later and continues to sit on it. The then deputy conservator of forest (BBMP lakes) Jagganath Rao said the civic body would rejuvenate the lake in 2018; and initiated work for de-silting and diversion of sewage channels the same year.
Activist Balaji Raghotham said though the ‘palike’ has addressed several issues regarding the waterbody, the problems pertaining to three inlet drains remain since they block the rainwater from flowing into the lake.
“BBMP has constructed a diversion channel so that sewage does not enter the lake. However, there is a problem with the inlet drains which impede the flow of rainwater to the lake. As the area receives a fairly good amount of rainfall, the civic body should fix the issue of water not reaching the lake,” said Raghotham who has planted saplings around the lake and recently installed the bird perches along with other volunteers. They now look forward to planting fruit-bearing trees to attract birds.
“In the absence of trees, the perches would help the birds to dry and rest,” he said.
With no CCTV cameras to monitor the upkeep of the lake and absence of fences, the residents are worried over the premises of the lake turning into a haven for drunkards. The drunkards have destroyed the saplings, they said. Some said that even the road encircling the lake is ill-maintained.
Another volunteer who works for the development of the lake, Shruthi Pise, said “Saplings can be planted only if the premises are properly fenced. It has been four years since the BBMP took up the job to develop the lake but it remains incomplete. Now that the monsoon has arrived, the walkway will turn slushy and the walkers will stop coming. Adequate attention should be given to the security aspect of the lake as well,” she said.
The sewage treatment plant (STP) attached to the lake also had some issues and it was fixed only recently. Hundreds of dead fish mysteriously washed up on the edge of the lake on May 31. A BBMP engineer who inspected the lake after the incident ruled out sewage entry into the lake and said the water being discharged from the STP is up to the mark.
Nagaraju A, a volunteer who planted the saplings, also complained about the drunkards and called for a protection wall and a walkway.
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Residents urge the authorities to act fast as there is no encroachment in the water body, as of now. “So the lake needs to be fenced and CCTV cameras installed at the earliest so as to protect it from illegal activities,” Rakesh, who lives near the lake, said.
Aravind Limbavali, the MLA of Mahadevapura, launched ‘Catch the Rain, where it falls, when it falls’ campaign Saturday with an aim to adopt a holistic approach to water management.