BENGALURU: IT was a day of hectic action around the Bellandur lake from 10 am. A Mumbai-based expert entrusted with the task of treating the lake commenced full-fledged operations inside the portion of the lake that runs along the Bellandur-Yamalur Kodi Road.
Fire department personnel, BDA officials, and contract laborers were involved in the ongoing work while curious bystanders stood around the fence of the lake watching all the drama unfolding there.
Swachh Bharat campaign-impanelled expert, Raaginni Jaain, was hoisted high above the lake on an aerospace tiller operated by the fire personnel. From up above, she threw sandbags and sprayed a liquid full of microbes as far as the tiller could go. This liquid (organic culture) came from her company Gitanjali Envirotech in Mumbai via sealed drums in the luggage wagons of trains the last two days for the work to begin. .
Speaking to Express in the midst of guiding the ten laborers provided by BDA to help her carry out the challenging task, she said, “We will be pouring 500 litres of the culture liquid into the lake on Sunday and we have already poured 200 litres of it on Saturday. They contain microbes. I cannot reveal details about how they were created as it is created by us and we have obtained a patent for it.”
The sulphate, ammonia and methane which are creating the foam from the sewage will be handled by the microbes, she said.
“Each microbe can multiply into 6 crore microbes within an hour. They will consume and digest these materials thereby removing the foam and stench from the water,” she explained.
Expressing her keenness in ridding the lake of its stench and foam within a week, Jaain says, “I purchased a Jet Spraying Machine for `50,000 on Saturday so that we could spray the liquid culture horizontally and vertically.”
Jain explained that her present focus was on the foam generation point of the lake. “We will first tackle this and then cover the 900-acre lake gradually,” she added.Since the tiller from the fire department could only go horizontally and the team wanted to spray the liquid vertically as well as below the lake, they took the help of a Floating JCB (platoon) from BDA, post lunch. “This is normally used only for de-weeding activities,” said M N Khan, BDA Assistant Executive Engineer, HSR Layout.
The sight of a 58-year-old woman atop an earthmover plodding on workers to spray along different directions forced many riding along the road to stop and watch the action for a while. The expert is not new to Bengaluru and has carried out work for quarries owned by the BBMP at Bagalur, Mittganahalli and Bagalur earlier this year. However, it proved to be a bitter experience. “Since I was not paid any amount despite showing results, I had to abandon the work midway,” she said.
Apart from the challenge of restoring the lake, there are many sceptics the team has to answer along the way. A few of those watching questioned her if she could really change the lake. A BDA official at the spot said, “This is a very huge lake. How much liquid can be sprayed and it is flowing too. I am very doubtful whether it will succeed.”Though BDA and Jaain say it is a cost-effective method, both are tightlipped on the exact cost it would entail.“If I am given the opportunity to continue, I will be able to convert this into a beautiful lake within 6 months,” Jaain added.
Our sprinklers are reducing the foam, says BDA official
The BDA had installed 16 sprinklers which spray freshwater around the Bellandur lake two days ago when the foam rose high due to the rains. A top official feels that this is the reason the foam has subsided. BDA Engineer Member P N Nayak was there till Sunday afternoon taking stock of the situation in the lake. “We managed to pump water two days ago from local sources and they are being distributed through the sprinklers. That is the main reason the foam level has subsided,” he said. The BDA plans to install 12 more such sprinklers shortly and continue spreading fresh water. “This is only a temporary solution to tackle foaming,” he insists. BDA officials from HSR Layout were arranging labourers and helping in the organic culture work being done by Raaginni Jaain. When asked about the impact of the work an official said, “Let us wait and see. It has been on for two days. Those carrying out the work say it could take some more time for the results to be obvious.”