Sand mining in Sarjapur lake takes toll on ecology

Sand mining in Sarjapur lake takes toll on ecology

According to residents, during the real estate boom in Sarjapur illegal sand mining became rampant.

Subjected to sand mining for over eight years, the Sarjapur lake has not only suffered irreparable damage but has lost its visitors, deer, foxes and peacocks.

According to Sarjapur villagers who have lived there for more than 50 years, many animals used to visit their farms close to the lake earlier.

“It has been more than five years since I found any animal in the area. They have disappeared because of the noise pollution and deforestation caused by sand mining,” said Ramanna, a farmer.

“The government had planted some trees like bamboo, gooseberry and others near the lake about 15 years ago, and had kept a frequent check on predators. The trees grew up, and the lake became a home to many birds and animals. But over the past eight years, the government has not kept any watch for some reasons,” Ramanna added.

The residents also attributed the reason for the disappearance of animals to rapid urbanisation and people’s ignorance.

“After the real estate boom in the village and as farmers slowly sold their lands for commercial establishments, nobody really cared about the lake. That’s when the predators found their way,” said Hanumanth Reddy, another resident.

When villagers tried to oppose or informed the police, the mining came to a temporary halt. However, it resumed soon after.

The lake is presently under the minor irrigation department.

“This lake will take years to see restoration. The lakebed is dug up to 50 feet in depth,” said Jagadeshwar, a resident.

Department blind

Interestingly, officials at the minor irrigation department were not even aware of the fact that they were the caretakers of the lake. An official from the department said the lake was under the BBMP.

However, a top official acknowledged that the lake was their responsibility but said they were not aware of the illegal mining in the lake.

“I will check about it and take necessary action if it’s true,” he said.

“We got to know about mining only 15 days ago. We have brought this to the notice of Lok Adalat, and the action will be taken soon,” he said.