Citizens' initiative on Madivala lake comes to nought

Citizens' initiative on Madivala lake comes to nought

Vivek Kumar, who resides close to the Madivala Lake, used to play with his friends on the lake bund once upon a time. Now, the boys have grown up, but Kumar’s generation next does not have that luxury. He regrets that the lake has become a cesspool and a garbage dumpyard.

“It is very unfortunate that such a beautiful lake has turned into a sewage tank. The government has failed miserably in protecting the water bodies of the City,” he says. The Madivala Lake is one of the biggest water bodies in the City and is spread across more than 200 acres in BTM Layout.  Although the lake looks pristine at the outset, it is dying a slow death. What is more appalling is that despite a number of reports on lake conservation being submitted, the government is yet to wake up to the need for the conservation of lakes. The Madivala Lake comes under the jurisdiction of the Forest department, which receives annual grants for routine maintenance of lakes.

A Vidyashankar, president of the Kuvempunagar Permanent Residents’ Welfare Association, says that grants received by the Forest department are mainly used for de-weeding the lake.

“Annually, more than Rs one crore is allotted for the purpose of reviving the lake. But the amount is spent only for removing the weeds. The sewage treatment plant is not working effectively, which is allowing raw sewage to enter the lake. The lake is not protected enough,” he points out.

The lake had become contaminated to a large extent by 2008 itself. But with citizens’ active involvement, the lake was revived, following which boating facilities were launched. However, the facility is now discontinued and sewage water continues to fill the lake.
Nijaguna Murthy, who stays very close to the lake, complains that the sewage treatment plant is not working. The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) has set up the plant, without bothering to check if it is in working condition, he said.

“The Forest department was sanctioned an amount of Rs 1.2 crore to maintain the lake, but no work has been taken up so far.  The lake continues to be polluted,” he says.

Chief Conservator of Forests Veeranna, who is in charge of the development of Madivala Lake, says the department is yet to receive annual grants for this year for maintenance work.

‘“A proposal to lay a cycling track at a cost of Rs 20 lakh was made two months ago. But there has been no response from the government so far. It was also proposed to increase the capacity of the sewage treatment plant from 4 mld to 6 mld. We are yet to receive a reply,” he said.

The lake is rich in flora and fauna and is known for its large number of migratory birds, including spot-billed Pelican which migrates to the lake during November-December.   

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