The death and rebirth of Jakkur lake

On revival course

The death and rebirth of Jakkur lake

The video showcases the gradual demise of the 160-acre lake in northeast Bangalore due to the onslaught of human greed and poor planning by civic agencies.

The video installation-cum-exhibition titled ‘Focusing the urban rural margins - Jakkur Lake’, being held at Barl, 69/3, Mission Road, is on till June 15. It can also be viewed online at http://surekha.info/negotiating-routes-jakkurlake.

Surekha, an acclaimed artist and resident of Sanjay Nagar, has been visiting the lake area for the past 10 years as her husband Anil Kumar is a native of Jakkur.

Effluents

She has seen the lake brimming with aquatic life, and over a period, losing its sheen, thanks to the effluent discharge, illegal sand mining, and dumping of debris among other things.

When the Lake Development Authority and the Bangalore Development Authority decided to revive the lake, Surekha decided to videograph it to record the visual transformation.

The documentation done from 2008 till now shows the lake bunds being encroached upon, the fish perishing due to depletion of oxygen, and the birds slowly disappearing. It also shows how the lake is being saved.

The BDA, through a contractor, has got the lake dewatered, desilted, fenced, created three artificial islands, walk path, food courts and a few other facilities.

But, there is no free access to people, even to the nearby villagers, unlike earlier. In the last few months, migratory birds have begun revisiting the lake, which has been spruced up in the last one year at a cost of Rs 21 crore.

The consolation is the water body has been saved and a sewage treatment plant installed to let only treated water into the lake, said Surekha.

The exhibition also displays the works of five young artists who have adopted different modes to show their concern for nature.

Kushal Kumar, a native of Doddaballapur, has displayed a life-size cardboard cellphone with a computer screen to show how mobile phone towers have contributed to the dwindling number of sparrows.

Naganagouda Patil has displayed a handmade toy farm equipment to show how farmers have lost land around the lake. The present lake is more of ornamental value, while the original was a multipurpose one.

20,000 birds

Harish Bhat, an ornithologist, said from the year 2000 onwards, he and some of his friends had been keenly studying 14 lakes, including Jakkur, in north Bangalore.

He said at least 20,000 birds used to throng Jakkur lake some years ago. But the number has come down drastically now. A lake should not be just a water storage point, but it should be in the shape of a saucer to maintain a good eco-system.

“The periphery of the lake has been encroached upon. Lakes are interconnected. Hence, even if a lake is saved and its catchment area is not devoid of encroachments or pollution, then it will be just a water body,” he said.

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