Debris dumped in heaps and mounds around the lake periphery and the release of untreated sewage from nearby residential colonies — this is the hallmark of Sarakki lake at J P Nagar like so many other lakes in Bangalore city.
Water bodies in the city are slowly diminishing leaving behind just the reminiscences of a well planned network of tanks and lakes during Kempegowda’s time.
Although there are many resident associations that are striving towards the restoration of many a lake, there is no proper support or encouragement from the government.
Sarakki Lake is one such lake which is in a state of utter neglect and degradation. The lake which was earlier under the supervision of Karnataka Forest Department was later handed over to BDA in January 2012. But no developmental activities have been seen so far except for the semblance of a fencing around the lake. The sewage water from the apartments in the vicinity is still let out into the lake.
The lake which was 86 acres in 1960s has now reduced to 60 acres due to encroachment by apartments in the vicinity.
If one visits this lake, one can easily deduce by colour of the lake waters that it is contaminated by nitrates and other toxic chemicals rather than aquatic species or the chirping of birds.
Speaking about the present scenerio of the lake, N R Sudheer, vice chairperson of the Sarakki Lake Area Improvement Trust (SLAIT), said, “BDA is helpless in terms of removing the encroachments. We have given many proposals for the restoration of lakes but in vain. Overall, there is absolutely no developmental activity that is taking place in this lake.”
Sarakki Lake today stands testimony to the sheer negligence and apathy of the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA). With the road getting wider and wider, the size of the lake is shrinking, complained many residents.
“Over the past four months, two young boys’ death has been reported. Even then the developmental activities have not taken place and till today it remains the same. The so-called fencing still remains broken, debris and garbage are dumped in heaps spreading diseases,” said Sahana Kashyap, a resident.
There are also many families who are eking a livelihood on the banks of the lake. When asked the BDA authorities about the encroachment and the restoration of the lake, Chikkarayappa, Chief Engineer of BDA said, “We have noticed that the encroachment has taken place. We have sent a request to the Revenue Department to certify the same. This will take approximately a week. Once the approval is passed, we will be fencing the boundaries and only then the comprehensive development of the lake will take place.”
Residents question the delay in developmental activities that has not taken place for the past seven months.
Will it be undertaken now is the moot question?
From drab to fab!
From a few pond herons and egrets to over 55 species of birds, Puttenahalli Neighbourhood Lake Improvement Trust (PNLIT) has come a long way in restoring the once degraded Puttenahalli Lake.
Speaking about the state of Puttenahalli lake earlier, Usha Rajagopalan, chairperson of PNLIT said, “The lake was once used as a dumping ground for all sorts of debris and trash resulting in the shrinking of the water body and the birds were forced to move out. The lake got a new lease of life, so did the aquatic and avian life it supports. As and when a new bird is spotted and identified, we sent out a ‘Bird Watch Update’ to our members and neighbouring communities. Today, at any time, a visitor will get to see about 10 species. If they have keen eyes, they can even spot small ones like the Ashy Prinia or a Red-whiskered Bulbul.”
Members of PNLIT believe that lakes are not the sole responsibility of the civic administration.
Usha added, “With the Government doing the actual rejuvenation, we, the people, should lend our support too. Only then, will it be possible to give a new life to the lakes of Bangalore and in turn, avert the looming water crisis in the city.”