BANGALORE : Fighting against privatisation of water resources since 2005, The People’s Campaign for Right to Water -Karnataka (PCRW-K), is now ready to celebrate some of its victories over the past year.
“Our efforts have been seen in the revitalisation of Sarakki, Chunchagatta and Gubbalala lakes in Bangalore South. The High Court of Karnataka has ordered the government authorities to clear encroachments at Sarkki and Chunchagatta lakes, after we filed a PIL. These lakes have also now been fenced to prevent further encroachments,” says Rajendra Prabhakar, convenor, PCRW-K.
In addition to these, 48 lakes have been rejuvenated by the efforts of women agriculture labourers in various districts of Karnataka.
To commemorate these victories, a cultural march beginning at Town Hall has been organised at 10 am on October 17, ending with a programme at Senate Hall at 11 am. Guest speakers include B T Lalita Naik, writer and political expert; Kotigenahalli Ramaiah, writer and the voice of marginalised communities; Banjegere Jayaprakash, writer and chairperson, Kannada Book Authority; Anasuyamma, leader, farmer’s movement, Karnataka, Eshwarappa, state convenor, PCRW-K and Manju Sainath, social activist.
Despite the recent encouraging developments, the PCRW-K are now looking to implement real-time changes in the systems at grass-root levels to further the cause of saving endangered lakes in the city. “It’s quite an obvious statement to make now that the government is not going to help when it comes to water resources. Bodies like BDA, BWSSB and LDA are of no use and are least bothered about what happens to our water bodies. It is now in our hands, the citizens’, to take this issue forward,” says Prabhakar.
The PCRW-K wants to discuss two pertinent issues to this effect at the Senate Hall talk. Firstly, the setting up of lake committees at the Mahanagara Palike level that will use the community’s resources and make sure that the water bodies within their jurisdiction are taken care of. “How do we make people take responsibility for their public property? We’ll inform them on ways to go about setting up these committees and making sure that they actually work, instead of just being showpieces,” informs Prabhakar.
The second concern that will be addressed is the Justice NK Patil report that focuses on various efforts that will help conserve, protect and rehabilitate lakes and raja kaluves.
“The guidelines from the report have been around for sometime but none of it has been implemented. We’ll inform the various lake committee members on how to implement these guidelines in a systematic way in mainstream society,” says Prabhakar.