BENGALURU: This May, City’s popular picnic spot Ulsoor Lake was in the news when thousands of dead fish floated up. Everyone – political leaders, the corporation officials and the pollution control board – were on the alert and promised action. But the recent rains proved their efforts weak and half-hearted.
Water from the nearby storm-water drain was to have been filtered with nets and then passed through a granite bund, before entering the lake. But in the rains, residents living around the lake say, the drains overflowed because both the nets and the bund seem to have been poorly maintained.
They say that the filtering nets and the bund have to be cleaned regularly so that the free flow of water is not obstructed. But no one seems to be bothered by it. The blockage has contributed to the overflow, and untreated sewage water and garbage found its way back into the lake.
City Express visited the lake and found plastic waste and other debris on the lake side of the bund.
The residents are unhappy about the attitude of the authorities. “The officials have been making a lot of promises but no action has been taken,” says Purushottam Venkatraman, President of the Ulsoor Lake Residents’ Welfare Association (ULRWA).
“The pollution control board also promised to construct a sewerage treatment plant at the lake, but we don’t see any progress on that front. Recently BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Pallike) dumped few granite stones to construct a bund, but the water is seeping through it and into the lake.”
Mahesh Kumar MN, a resident, says, “Sewage from the neighbourhood still drains into the lake.” Simbu, a fruit vendor by the lake, says that the recent rains submerged the bund.
The local corporator blames senior officials in BBMP. “I have been trying to reach them, including to the commissioner and Chief Engineer (Project Central) Somashekar S, but none of them is responding,” says Mamatha Saravana, corporator for Ulsoor Ward. City Express tried to reach the Commissioner Manjunath Prasad and the chief engineer, but both were not available for comment.
Corporator Mamatha says that she opposed the construction of the bund. “I didn’t think it was an effective solution,” she says. “Even though ministers including Minister KJ George and MLAs visited the lake and promised action, no action has been taken.” The Minister was not available for a comment either.
A senior official at the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board passes the buck, to Bangalore Water Supply and Sewarage Board. “We are only providing the funds to construct the sewage treatment plant,” says the official under anonymity. “BWSSB has to construct it, but they haven’t submitted a proposal or a cost estimate yet.”
BWSSB’s Chief Engineer for Waste Water Management says that they have started planning for the STP. “We have to make a detailed plan and a sketch,” says Ramakrishna S M from BWSSB. “The pollution control board has agreed to give `4 crore, in accordance with the progress of the work. We have just marked out the place to construct the plant.”