The restoration work being carried out at Kelagina Kere, also known as Lower Byrasandra lake, in east Bengaluru will get over by next month, said officials of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). Originally spread over 12.21 acre, 3.95 acre of the water body was encroached by residential outlets, a tech park and defence establishment. According to sources, a portion of the lake encroached by the private tech park has been finally taken over by the BBMP.
BBMP executive engineer (lakes department) Ravi said, “We have taken up the development of Kelagina Kere. The entire developmental work will get over by next month. Presently, we are constructing a pathway around the lake.”
The restoration work was taken up by the civic body last year.
Asked if the encroachments were removed, a senior BBMP official said, “The IT park has relinquished the portion of the lake it occupied and we are developing the lake since it was due for a long time.”
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In order to complement the ecology around lakes, the BBMP had announced in January that it will plant trees in the vacant spaces around 36 lakes in its limits. Kelagina Kere is one of the lakes.
On June 29, CV Raman Nagar MLA S Raghu along with the officials of the BBMP inspected the ongoing restoration works at the lake.
More than a decade ago in two reports on land encroachments by former IAS officers AT Ramaswamy and V Balasubramaian, the issue of the encroachment of the lower Byrasandra lake was highlighted following which the administration sprung into action but the private tech park took the issue to the court.
“Action should be taken immediately on the issue of encroachments. In most of the cases, government bodies are encroachers. It gets very difficult to remove them. We try our best. Moreover, political interference also comes in our way,” a serving IAS officer said on the condition of anonymity.
Lake activist Balaji Raghotham said 200 metre from Kelagina Kere another lake, Upper Byrasandra lake, is in a pitiable state for a decade but little has been done to improve its condition.
“While the restoration of Lower Byrasandra has been taken up… it would be better if the civic body also concentrates upon Upper Byrasandra lake. The lake is filled with weeds and though the activists have been raising the issue… nothing was done. The lake is in a neglected state,” he said.
However, BBMP officials from the lakes department said there is no plan to restore the Upper Byrasandra lake. “We do not have funds to restore this lake. Even under the Amruth Nagarothana scheme, wherein the government has allocated Rs 200 crore to restore the lakes, there is no mention of this lake. So it will take time for the restoration,” a BBMP official said.
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