We don’t deserve this: locals mourn Kolar contamination

DH Graphic/Ramu M

Residents of Lakshmisagar and surrounding places in Kolar had waited for over two years for the Koramangala-Challaghatta valley project to bring water.

But with the Lakshmisagar Lake frothing after polluted water was pumped from Bengaluru, they feel the whole thing has been a cruel joke played on them.

“We never wanted the KC Valley project in the first place. All we wanted was a source of water to drink and for farming purposes. We feared a mess up like this when they proposed it. It has now come true,” said Ramesh, a resident in the area.

Locals told DH that the incident has defeated the project’s stated intent of recharging Kolar’s depleted aquifers. They said the project needed “upgrade” and “monitoring”, if it has to continue.

They said the lake was fully contaminated before the BWSSB could stop the polluted water from entering it.

“Water from the Lakshmisagar Lake goes to Narasapura, Vallabhi, Singanahalli, Agrahara and eventually drains into the Srinivasapura Lake. These lakes would have been polluted by now. The frothy stream was entering the lake for three hours before the BWSSB could shut down the pump,” Mahesh Gowda, a local, said.

Residents fear the polluted water could have spoilt the crops and fish reared in the lake.

“I recently began rearing fish in the lake,” Gowda said. “The one lakh fish seedlings in the lake must be gone now. Fish farming is the only income for my family,” he added.

Noting that he has lost trust in government officials, Gowda asked for restoration of pure water so that he could at least focus on farming.

Anjaneya Reddy, a member of the Shashavatha Neeravari Horata Samiti, said the disaster has only confirmed the skepticism of many scientists about the project’s feasibility. “This pollution has left permanent damage on the district’s already depleting water system. Nearly 75% of Kolar’s population depends on farming. Lakes are the only means to recharge the ground water.”

Reddy wants the project to be revised. He urged the government to discuss with the scientists and lake experts before furthering the project. “We need an online system where the public can keep track of the project,” he added.

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We don’t deserve this: locals mourn Kolar contamination

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