BENGALURU: A hugely disappointed Raaginni Jaain packed her bags and left for Mumbai on Monday night after the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) abruptly stopped her attempt to rid Bellandur Lake of its froth. Perturbed by the turn of events, the 58-year-old spoke to Express from Mumbai about the experience as well as her unwavering faith that she still can turn things around at the lake if given the opportunity.
What was your experience working on Bellandur lake? I have not had such a bitter experience during the last two decades of my work in sewage treatment and garbage management with urban local bodies in 11 states across the country. I really felt insulted at the hands of BDA engineers and I think I deserve some respect. I cancelled my flight to Delhi where I was supposed to work on another project to do this work in Bellandur.
Did you think you could put an end to the froth and smell within a short period? I have done desilting work and treated effluents at Nagnadi Lake in Nagpur and Durg Lake in Chhattisgarh. I have treated 25,000 water septic tanks across the country. I have also dealt with sewage in Leh-Ladakh region. This microbe culture can even work at temperatures of -35oC to -40oC. What made you think you could make a difference? A day before I met the BDA Commissioner and began the work on Friday, my team took samples from the lake and conducted research and development in the city. We always carry digital equipment like pH meter, temperature meter and TDS meter with us.
We told the BDA it was possible only after we tested the samples with our culture and we were sure it could be treated. BDA says you failed to deliver and sprinklers did the job. I told them that I will reduce the level of the foam within 24 hours and will remove all the foam and stench within a week to 10 days. That is exactly what I did — bring down the level of the foam. The sprinklers use the same sewage water and spray it on the foam. Do you really think that has worked? Just like how a disease needs to be treated using antibiotics, I was trying to inject medicine into the lake.
You have had a bad experience working with BBMP. So why did you return to Bengaluru? I wo r k e d o n q u a r - ries at Bagalur, Mittaganahalli and some other places earlier this year. Despite showing results, I was not given any payment by the agencies even after five months. I had to abandon the work midway as I am not rich enough to keep working without pay. I mentioned this to BDA when I made my proposal and was assured that BDA was totally different from BBMP and was a transparent organisation. Only after that, I decided to take up this job.
I have already spent considerable money and I hope I am reimbursed. BDA Commissioner Rakesh Singh, who first enlisted your assistance for Bellandur Lake, is still considering giving you another opportunity. Will you be interested? It is not a matter of interest, but responsibility. We are speaking of the health and hygiene of thousands of people around the lake who are suffering. I want to do it more for them than myself. But of course, this time I want everything in writing after what has just happened.