Kengeri Lake still waits for second shot at life

DH graphic/Prakash S

The dying Kengeri Lake will have to wait for some more time to get a new lease of life. 

Several months after the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL) picked a contractor to revive the western Bengaluru lake, there is little or no activity on the ground. There is no semblance of a waterbody. All that exists is a vast spread of weeds, shrubs, bushes, garbage and debris. 

The 32-acre, 16-gunta lake, also known as Doddakere, is located in the Vrishabhavathi river basin opposite the Kengeri Satellite Town bus station on Mysuru Road in Bengaluru South taluk. 

The lake was last developed by the forest department in 2005. The department developed islands, pathways and fenced the lake. But poor maintenance over the past years pushed the lake back to square one. The fence is now broken. 

In 2012, the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) handed over the lake to the BMRCL, which showed interest in developing the waterbody as part of its corporate social responsibility. The BMRCL is building two metro stations in the vicinity of the lake. The agency is to develop, restore, maintain and beautify the lake. It plans to build walking paths, a children's play area, a recreation zone, an islet, boating and other facilities. 

The BMRCL called tenders in June 2017 for rejuvenating the lake, but could not go ahead with the project, owing to encroachments and stringent conditions laid down by the now-defunct Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Authority. 

It succeeded only after the third tender and awarded the project to MR Protech Pvt Ltd for Rs 7 crore. BMRCL spokesperson U A Vasanth Rao said the work would start by the end of September. But the delay has hit people hard. People waiting for buses have converted the lakebed into an open urinal. 

Pushpa, a commuter, complained: "Vendors have put up pushcarts near the lake and throw leftovers and waste into it. It's embarrassing for women to see men urinate without any inhibition near the lake." 

Manjunatha K, a local resident, said: "Once a beautiful lake, it's now full of weeds and water hyacinth. It stinks badly."

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