BMRCL gives up on squalid Kengeri Lake

BMRCL gives up on squalid Kengeri Lake, hands it over to BBMP

The Kengeri Lake overrun by weeds and garbage. DH photo/S K Dinesh

Eight years after taking over the Kengeri Lake and four years after preparing plans for its development, the BMRCL has dropped the project and is all set to hand over the neglected water body to the BBMP.

The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL) began working on the project in early 2015 by calling a tender. The works included cleaning, removing silt, restoring and creating storm water drains and, more importantly, stopping the flow of sewage into the water body.

However, the tender lapsed and another one was called. By the beginning of 2018, the corporation had called a third tender. Only this time, there seemed to be a positive development with officials stating that MR Protech Pvt Ltd will take up the work at a cost of Rs 7 crore.

BMRCL managing director Ajay Seth explained that the real problem was lack of funds for the project. “BMRCL could not persuade any corporate companies to take up the work as part of corporate social responsibility (CSR) activity. In the meantime, the government decided to hand over all lakes in the city, with the exception of three remaining with BDA, to the BBMP for maintenance and development,” he said.

The official said that the corporation called three tenders without tying up with a corporate entity for CSR funds. Officials hoped that once everything is finalised, big names in the corporate world would readily spend on the lake situated on the side of the Mysuru Road.

The 25-acre lake was handed over to the BMRCL in 2012 following a decision by the high-powered committee. The detailed project report drew up plans for rejuvenation of the lake to support aquatic life, boating facility, jogging track, green lands, children’s play area, amusement facility and food stalls. 

“The idea was to create a model lung space right next to the Metro station. A mini Lalbagh with a corporate touch,” an official who handled the project told DH.

Instead, the lake and its environs have turned into a dumpyard with the old watch tower all set to be buried under heaps of garbage. The road-side eateries wash their utensils and throw the leftovers into the lake. Sewage continues to flow into the lake from the western side while new properties seem to be coming up within its buffer zone.

A senior BBMP official said the lake would be taken over as per the government order. “First, a joint inspection with BMRCL officials would be conducted within a week following which we will formally take over the lake from their custody,” he said, adding that any plan to protect the lake would have to be reviewed from the civic body’s perspective.