BENGALURU: It was an impressive feat by Bengalureans to get the steel flyover project scrapped with an effective campaign that lasted a few days. While that was a good sprint, another campaign had to run a four-year marathon to finally get the desired result- that of getting the Agara lake rejuvenated.
Multiple organisations were involved in getting the lake’s restoration works started. Among them, the Agara Lake Protection and Management Society (ALPMS) has been at the forefront.
In addition to filing a public interest litigation (PIL) in court to cease management of the lake by the private firm Biota Systems, residents had continually kept up pressure on officials of the Department of Forest and Ecology and would meet them often, said ALPMS General Secretary Suresh B Bhadraiah.
“The turning point was when the CM first visited the lake in September 2013, which only happened because of our multiple meetings and follow-ups with officials. It also helped that a lot of IAS officers from the department stayed at HSR Layout and we would catch them in the mornings before they left for office,” he said.
Residents also held cleanliness and tree planting drives regularly near the lake, often in collaboration with NGOs and firms. The BDA too had once restored the lake in 2004, but as no authority maintained the lake thereafter, it reverted to its original state.
A view of the lake now might make it seem like it has dried up, but that is actually due to the rejuvenation processes currently underway. Dewatering has been done, wherein all the water was pumped out, and desilting is being carried out.
In addition, a lot of other beautification works are also in progress, including a park, kids’ play area, fountain, gazebo for rain shelter, toilets, idol immersion tank and security cabins, said Assistant Engineer at Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Authority (KLCDA) Honnaiah. “The total cost of these works is `16.1 crore and they will be completed in around two years,” he added.
In addition, a sewage treatment plant will also be set up near the lake, at a cost of `65 crore. Technical Assistant at the BWSSB Shilpa Halyal said tenders had been floated and firms had come forward to participate. The STP will take two years to finish once the tender is awarded, she said.