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New lease of life for Herohalli lake

Bosky Khanna, Bangalore, Sep 21, 2014, DHNS: 0:49 IST

Palike takes police protection to develop the water body

The Palike has so far spent Rs five crore on restoring the lake. DH Photo
After facing resistance from vested interests, an endangered lake in west Bangalore is finally on its way to restoration with police protection and support from a section of public-spirited locals.

One of the last few along Magadi Road, the Herohalli lake would be open to the public in six months after complete restoration. The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), which is spearheading the effort since 2012, has doggedly gone ahead with restoration work despite problems created by suspected land-grabbers in the area.

“We initially constructed pavements, built three gates and walls. Land-grabbers destroyed them and took away the construction material. Some people dumped construction material by breaching the security fence. A gate was destroyed. Because of this, we have now taken the help of the local police and Home Guards,” said a BBMP official.

The BBMP allocated Rs 11 crore for the restoration. Owing to the impediments, an additional Rs 10.31 lakh was allocated recently.

The Palike has till now spent Rs five crore, of which Rs 3.5 crore was spent for installing a 1.5 mld-STP (sewage treatment plant). A tank (kalyani) has been built that was used for idol immersion by the locals.

The restoration has been made possible by clearing 35 guntas of land encroached by commercial outlets and six temporary residential establishments. The horticulture wing of the Bangalore Development Authority is helping with landscaping.

The original area of the lake was 35 acres. The landscaping around the lake, construction of a security fence and walking path, have reduced the water body to 25 acres.

This has evoked mixed responses from the locals who fear that the reduced lake area would mean that fewer birds would visit the lake.

Veeranna N, an Andrahalli resident and a regular visitor to the lake, said though BBMP was renovating the lake, it seemed like its dimensions had been altered. Local fishermen who earned their livelihood from the lake have also stopped coming here, he said.

Environmentalist N Sunil Kumar, a regular visitor to the lake, said that it was good that treated water was getting into the lake.

“But, because of the various constructions like walkway, the water body has reduced. We have to wait till March to see whether migratory birds will come here,” he said.

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