BENGALURU: Lakes in Bengaluru will not be leased out to any company, individual or organisation henceforth. Lakes belong to the state and their water will be recycled and reused.
This is one of the prime decisions taken by the state government and minor irrigation department after it decided to revive the lake development authority.
Earlier, the lake development authority had leased out prime city lakes, including Hebbal, Nagawara, Agara and Vengayanakere lakes to companies.
The lease period of Nagawara Lake is drawing to a close, and the government is in no mood to renew the lease. The lease of Nagawara Lake ends in November 2019 and that of Hebbal will end in 2022.
The Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Authority (KLCDA) had also leased out Agara Lake in 2017, but the company did no work for two years.
Litigation pertaining to custody and maintenance for Vengayanakere is still on. After KLCDA was repelled, all four lakes under its custody which were leased out, went to the forest department.
“During 2004-07, the lake development authority had leased out lakes for rejuvenation. But later it lost access to these lakes. They were prohibited to even see the lakes’ condition. So were citizens. People cannot be charged to enter the lakes, but companies started asking for entry fee and making lakes completely out of bounds for visitors. The agencies spent money on rejuvenation and people have rights over them,” said an urban development department official.
Karnataka forest department and Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike have agreed to the plan. Officials said that recreation activities alone can be outsourced.
Researchers from Indian Institute of Science were also not allowed to visit the lakes to assess the water quality.
They have also agreed to this decision. “Water from the revived lakes is essential to recharge groundwater. It is also required to meet the city’s needs,” said an official.
“Citizen involvement through community initiatives and through corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds can be a good idea,” said Assistant Conservator of Forests Harsha Vardhan.