MESTRIPALAYA: A group of Koramangala residents got together not only to claim the Mestripalaya lake back from encroachers but also to give it a new lease of life.
As a result within four months, the lake, which was not so long ago used as a dump yard, will be developed by the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) and handed over to Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) for further maintenance. The lake will also be open to public.
Ajay Reddy, head of the Citizens' Coordination Committee, said he has always lived near the lake and grew up seeing ample water in it. But from the late 80s, encroachments began to take over the 11-acre lake and slowly destroyed its beauty.
The lake was once also at the centre of a litigation between the BDA and a person who claimed that the land was his ancestral property. Later, Koramangala citizens along with BDA decided to take the issue to the Supreme Court.
In 2010, the Supreme Court passed a judgment which stated that the BDA will own the land, develop it as a lake and protect it as well, Ajay said.
According to the detailed project report by the Lake Development Authority and BDA, the estimated cost for the restoration of the Mestripalya lake was `2.75 crore.
"Two more weeks are required to divert the sewage lines and connect them to the storm water drain. Cleaning of river bed, creating wet land, revetment of two islands and creating bunds will be done by March 2015," Ajay Reddy said.
Out of 11 acres, only eight acres constitute the river bed. BDA has also promised to create a play area for children in the area, he said.
BDA Executive Engineer Rizwan Baig said after BDA got the ruling in its favour, sheds in the area were removed and money was deposited into the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) account for diverting sewage. The BWSSB had to lay huge pipes and create a pit in a corner.
"We also have built a kalyani for idol immersion. We will build toilets and beautify the lake and then hand it over to BBMP for further maintenance. By monsoon this lake will be open to public," said Baig.