Updated: February 13, 2022 11:03:37 am
The situation of the Kannalli lake in south Bengaluru is a classic example of how a freshwater lake can turn into a toxic waterbody when the civic agencies fail to intervene in the deterioration due to the inflow of pollutants.
Kannalli is one of six lakes located in the Nadaprabhu Kempegowda Layout which is expected to house around 32,000 residents in the next few years.
The lake, which spreads across 56 acre in the first block of the layout, was once a haven for cyclists and bird watchers on weekends. Enthusiasts say birds such as the Indian spot-billed duck, the Indian peafowl, little grebe, rock pigeon, greater conical and many other species have been spotted at the Kannali Lake.
The growth of the location as a lucrative real estate destination — after land in the region was acquired by the Bangalore Development Authority in 2010 for the Kempegowda Layout — has resulted in the gradual demise of the lake.
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Residents of the region say while villagers had a bond with the lake in the earlier generations, the newer generations have only seen the commercial prospects of the land, resulting in the lake losing its priority.
According to Ramana Gowdaiah of the Nadaprabhu Kempegowda Layout Residents Welfare Association, several memorandums have been submitted to the BBMP, the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) and several other agencies to preserve the lake but there has been no response.
One of the major problems is the discharge of pollutants into the lake on a daily basis by industries located on its periphery. No measures have been taken against the dumping of construction debris on the sides of the lake either.
“The local villagers are dumping waste in the lake bed in the absence of waste disposal management in the village. We are planning to approach NGT if they continue to ignore it,” Ramana said.
Javaraiah, a 56-year-old farmer of Kannalli, says, “The lake was once a source of water for the village but it is different now. Chemical effluents are being discharged by the industries, making the lake turn toxic.”
“The youth of the village are more interested in making money from the real estate here. There has been no voice raised to protect the lake,” he said
Surya K, who has been allotted a site in the Nadaprabhu Kempegowda Layout, says the dumping of construction debris into the lake on a big scale has been ignored.
“The chemical effluents continue to pollute the lake and nobody has bothered to do anything. There is no fencing. Recently, a BBMP team visited the lake but little work has been done. A couple of years ago, some of the citizens donated dustbins which were placed across the village. However, there is no collection of waste which makes people dump it in the lake,” he said.
Ironically, garbage from the city of Bengaluru is dumped at the yards in Seegehalli and Kannalli but the people of Kannalli village are reportedly not allowed to dump waste at the yard.
Local Panchayat Development Officer (PDO) Bhagirathi admits that construction debris, chemical effluents are polluting the lake. She admits that there is a problem with garbage disposal as well.
“Chemical effluents are being diverted from the Peenya industrial area too. The panchayat had earlier cleaned the lake bed but it is difficult for us to do it every time with the limited financial resources at our disposal. There are dumping yards here but the BBMP has not allowed us to dispose of our waste at the yards. We are ready to coordinate with them to preserve the lake,” Bhagirathi said.
L Geetha, Executive Engineer (lakes) of BBMP, said there are no grants for the development of lakes and the BBMP is not in a position to develop any lake. “There is no new grant and whatever funds we have is for the maintenance of the lakes. About the dumping of construction debris, I will ask the staff to look into the matter,” she added.
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