Depredation in the name of development

Tankers supplying water are a common sight in Uttarahalli, though it has five huge lakes. Dore Kere, Subramanyapura Lake, Uttarahalli Lake, Goudanapalya Lake and Gubbalala Lake dot the area.

However, the precious water bodies are on the verge of extinction, despite crores of rupees being spent on their revival.

The greed and shortsightedness of the people are to be blamed for Uttarahalli’s current plight. People pedalling bicycles with empty plastic pots tied to them, in search of water, is a routine in the area. Water tankers bearing the posters of Bangalore South MLA M Krishnappa and Uttarahalli BJP corporator Ramesh Raju supply water free of cost to the people of Uttarahalli ward. The tragedy is, water is supplied to the slum-dwellers on the banks of Subramanyapura Lake as well. The lake had pristine water just two years ago. The ‘water business’ has continued into the rainy season this year due to the rainfall shortage, which broke a 42-year-old record.

The borewells dug on the banks of the lake once had potable water, but not any more. The catchment area of the lake and the stormwater drain leading into the lake have been encroached. Sewage flows in the stormwater drain and weeds have further choked it.
The lake has become synonymous with a septic tank, emanating unbearable stench. The Uttarahalli Lake is severed from its catchment area, while sewage abounds the catchment areas of Dore Kere, Subramanyapura Lake and Goudanapalya Lake, choking them completely. Rampant encroachment, inaction of the BBMP officials and revenue authorities, and the silence of the public representatives have proved fatal for the water bodies. This, however, does not deter the BBMP from spending Rs two crore to construct a new lake near Poornaprajna Layout.

The Palike recently undertook rejuvenation of the valleys of the five lakes and their catchment areas, following a direction from the High Court of Karnataka. It carried out a survey of the catchment area of the Subramanyapura Lake, only to slow down the work later. The reason was obvious. A senior officer involved in the project said his work was almost finished, but suddenly pressure mounted on him to give up the work. Complaints to the local corporator, Karnataka State Pollution Control Board and the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board about sewage entering the lakes did not yield any result.

Chandrashekhar, a resident of Gubbalala, laments: “We have no concern for the lakes and valleys, which are the lifeline of Bangalore. We will perish if they are allowed to die. We had rivers like Vrushabhavathi and Arkavathi, which we have killed and we may not hesitate to choke Cauvery too. There is no one to take up the issue.”

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