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Experts doubt BDA's lake revival technique

Last updated: 15 June, 2010
Sandeep Moudgal and Subhash Chandra N S, Bangalore, June 14, DHNS: 1:30 IST

Dying water bodies: Concern over conservation initiatives

The act of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike in entrusting rejuvenation of lakes to Bangalore Development Authority has raised several questions.

The fast depleting water bodies in the City have raised alarm bells and the setting up of Lake Development Authority, it appears, is of no avail in stemming the death of water sources.

Criticism came in from all quarters of the administrative machinery against the Authority’s lacklustre performance in implementing lake rejuvenation projects. And now, it appears that the State government is spearheading the same project with the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA). However, the efforts by civic authorities need to gain momentum.

As many as 12 lakes were entrusted to the BDA early last year for rejuvenation. Added to this, the BBMP council last month passed a proposal for infrastructure projects worth Rs 2,000 crore, part of which was diverted towards developing 29 lakes by the BDA. However, doubts are being raised over the BDA’s “civil engineering” intervention in restoring the dying lakes. Experts feel that the idea of the lake development projects seems to have overridden the idea of rejuvenating these dying water bodies.

Unscientific manner

“What we are looking at is the BDA trying to renovate and rejuvenate these water bodies in an unscientific manner without taking precautions to maintain its ecological importance,” said T V Ramchandra, Senior Scientist, Centre for Ecological Studies, IISC.

According to Ramachandra, BDA’s current methodology in restoring these lakes will ultimately result in the disappearance of the City’s biodiversity. “It will, for all practical purposes, result in these lakes being converted into nothing more than just water tanks,” opined Ramachandra.

Rohan D’Souza, a research scholar with the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment (Atree) echoes the same view. “Having studied these lakes over the past four years, it appears that they will give way to just water bowls. The civic agency is trying too hard to provide a water body that serves more of a recreational purpose rather than restoring them to its traditional needs,” he said.

D’Souza said, by turning the lakes into water bowls and converting the lake bunds into a joggers’ stretch or a cement periphery, the depth will be at the centre leading to the loss of biodiversity.

Concurring with the view, Ramachandra said the concrete and cement shoreline will be unhealthy for the water bodies. As ironic it may seem, the purpose of the BDA in handling the rejuvenation of these dying lakes may in fact, to kill them!

Sacrifice, imperative

However, noted environmentalist and chairman of the lake rejuvenation programme under the BDA, Dr Yellappa Reddy, dismissed these observations. Utmost care was being taken to preserve the biodiversity of the these lakes, he asserted. “But sometimes, certain sacrifices have to be made for the larger good of rejuvenating these lakes,” he said.

Reddy opined that the biodiversity was already dying with the channelling of sewerage water and silt deposit these lakes. Each rejuvenated lake till now has been taken into consideration by providing a fish breeding centre, wetlands and other precautionary measures for biodiversity preservation, Reddy said.

On the future of the 29 lakes which are likely to be transferred to the BDA, Reddy hoped that they too will be handled much in the same manner, provided, a dedicated team of engineers and personnel are stationed by the Authority.

Lakes to be handed over to BDA

1. Manganahalli,
2. Nelagdirenahalli,
3. Narasappanahalli,
4. Lingadeeranahalli,
5. Amruthahalli,
6. Gubbalala,
7. Hosakerehalli,
8. Doddakallasandra,
9. Avalahalli,
10. Hosakere (Gandhinagar), 11. Chunchanaghatta,
12. Hulimavu,
13. Arakere,
14. Kembettanahalli,
15. Vasanthapura,
16. Bheemanakuppe,
17. Kenchanapura,
18. Kannenahalli,
19. Chikkabasthi,
20. Soolekere,
21.B Narayanapura,
22.Chikkabettahalli,
23.Garavebavi Palya,
24.Singasandra
25.Konanakunte
26. Byrasandra
27. Channasandra
28. Kaggadasapura
29. Doddanakkundi

Voices

T V Ramchandra, Senior Scientist, Centre for Ecological Sciences, IISc:
The BDA must look into possibilities of providing a sustainable method to preserve the ecology as well as to rejuvenate the lakes.

Rohan D’Souza, Research Scholar, Atree: The BDA must try and ensure that the lakes are rejuvenated without draining out the water. This will save a lot of biodiversity.

Yellappa Reddy, Environmentalist:
The Civic organisation has been doing an efficient job, providing expertise and ensuring all precautions are taken to protect the lakes and the biodiversity.


In this concluding part of the series on the projects worth Rs. 2,000 crore proposed by BBMP Deccan Herald takes a look at the 29 lakes to be handed over to BDA by BBMP for
development. Civic experts and environmentalists aren’t convinced by the “development” method adopted by BDA, which they say, does not give a thought to the
biodiversity that goes with a lake ecosystem.





Questions persist on planning acumen

G Manjusainath, Bangalore, June 14, DHNS:

Its death of another lake. The Gubbalala lake, which hosted several migratory birds and perhaps the only water body that survived the onslaught of land sharks had turned into a breeding site for mosquitoes.

The lake was a shelter to migratory birds barely a year ago. But the apartments that came up nearby let the sewage water flow directly into the lake without even filtering. The result was that the entire lake became polluted. Water started stinking and birds migrated from the place. Water hyacinth fully enveloped the lake. It was only after the local corporator Ramesh Raju raised objection and staged a demonstration did the apartment builders agree to install their own water treatment plants.

Today, the water hyacinth have been partly removed but the danger for the lake persists. The expanse of the lake has shrunk over the years with rampant encroachment whereas the BBMP officials maintain a deafening silence.

Gubbalala lake is among the 29 lakes which the Palike has handed over to the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) since it couldn’t maintain all the water bodies in the City. Besides, it was believed that the BDA does the work in a planned manner. After all, it was the BDA that developed the Sankey Tank and Yediyur lake. But the Opposition has questioned poor expertise of the BBMP whereas the BDA is skilled in planning the City. |

Their point is that many layouts developed by the BDA show the poor planning. For instance, Anjanapura Layout does not have any proper approach road and even now the layout does not have enough amenities to settle there.

The focus is now the kind of planning the BDA may bring in to these lakes. It is yet to be seen whether the BDA will successfully preserve the natural quality of these lakes.

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