Funds for city rivers’ revival, but no concrete plan

Arkavathy River originates in Nandi Hills on the northern outskirts of Bengaluru.

The state budget announced Rs 50 crore for the rejuvenation of Arkavathy and Dakshina Pinakini rivers. However, the government bodies have not conceived a plan to implement the project yet.

The fund announced comes under the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board’s  (BWSSB) ambit and a meeting was held a week ago to discuss the project.

BWSSB chairman, Tushar Girinath said that there was no discussion held prior to the budget announcement about the rejuvenation programme.

However, since the BWSSB is the beneficiary of the project, a meeting was held among the representatives of
BBMP, BMRDA and BDA officials.

“A meeting was held and it was decided that a report has to be prepared about how to go forward with the rejuvenation project. No further decisions will be taken until the next meeting,” he added.

According to the BWSSB chairman, it is an elaborate plan to check pollution in the rivers and divert them to the nearest lakes. Through the project, if water could be saved, it will benefit the city’s water consumption. 

This is not the first time the government has taken a decision and allocated funds for the rejuvenation of these rivers. In fact, many committees and trusts were formed in the past 15 years. But none concrete so far.

Revival plans failed

In 2005, the Arkavathy-Kumudvati River Rejuvenation Committee was formed. The effort was futile as there were no steps taken except forming the committee. Similarly, a Dakshina Pinakini river rejuvenation trust was formed a year ago, this, too, did not take off.

Even the BWSSB, in their expert committee report, recommended to rejuvenate the Arkavathi catchment area and restoring it to its original supply of 180 million litres of water per day and increase the capacity.

Both Arkavathy and Dakshina Pinakini rivers originate in Nandi Hills, Chikkaballapur district. Arkavathy was the lifeline and the first source of water supply through the Tippagondanahalli reservoir and Hessarghatta reservoir. Now, only sewage flows in the river. Dakshina Pinakini, too, has been largely exploited for sand mining. 

Dr A N Yellappa Reddy, a retired IFS officer and noted environmentalist, said the government may have allocated funds and formed many committees, but till date, there have been no visible changes in these rivers originating from the Nandi Hills.

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