On the face of it, Ulsoor Lake is indeed the pride of Bangalore. But to the adept eye, even a cursory look would confirm that the lake is in bad shape with sewage making up most of the water.
And for decades, the condition of the lake has been deteriorating and for the same period of time, there have been massive efforts to save it.
Now, the Ulsoor Lake Association (ULA) along with United Way of Bengaluru, a non-profit organisation, has stepped in to make significant changes in the landscape of the lake area. “On February 6, we will be launching an open air gymnasium at Ulsoor lake provided by the RNZ group.
The work will be completed by next week and we hope to rope in a few dignitaries to inaugurate it,” said V Purushottam, president, ULA and the Resident’s Welfare Association.
Apart from the gym, the group that was formed in early 2010, also hopes to install an amphitheatre and children’s park for public use. “The Madras Engineer Group (MEG), a regiment of the Indian army, who also are stakeholders of the lake, are going to send about 100 men over to the lake for one day, so as to clean the entire lake manually,” adds Purushottam. However funds are difficult to come by, and the BBMP reeks of apathy, according to the ULA. “The corporation has not been helpful in any way to us. Some time back, they said they would build toilets around Ulsoor Lake and tenders were also floated, but nothing happened. Now we’re trying to get it done ourselves by inviting corporates to fund,” said Purushottam.
When contacted, BBMP’s major works standing committee chairman, H Ravindra said, “We’re doing what we can to get the people to accept the tenders that were floated for building toilets at Ulsoor lake.
However, no one came forward. Now, we’re going to re-release the tenders,” he said.
The lake’s walkway is also being cleared up and renovated so as to attract more visitors. “We’ve appointed a landscaping contractor who will take care of building a pathway around the lake and we’ve also started the work for a composting pit to be built at the lake premises,” said Suresh Nair, executive director, United Way of Bengaluru.
Nair also stressed on the importance of public participation in the upkeep of the lakes. “I think the main task now is that the community needs to be fully involved in the monitoring of the lake. Here, we just do the work and give it back to the community but within a few months you see things going back to the way they were. Constant vigilance by the public is necessary,” he said.