Begur Lake, one of the largest lakes in South Bangalore, is on the brink of extinction and has become a den of suspicious activities.
Till 2010, the lake, near the Electronics City, was brimming with water and a variety of birds including the Grey Pelicans and Painted Storks flocked the place. However, for the last two years, the water receded at an alarming rate and in the last six months, the lake has turned into parched land.
The weeds and discarded plastic waste occupy a significant part of the lake, which is spread across an area of 134 acres.
The Lake is surrounded by a Christian cemetery, apartments, the Naganatheshwara temple complex, claimed to be more than thousand years old, and a handful of homes.
Residents blamed the scorching summer coupled with indiscriminate drawing of water by private tankers for the deplorable condition of the lake.
“The last time the lake went dry was in 1987 and that was due to intense heat. Since then the lake returned to its original condition following the end of summer. But things are different now. For over a year now, there has been no water in the lake except for a few puddles,” said Jagadish V, a worker at the Naganatheshwara temple complex.
According to residents, the condition of the lake worsened after a large influx of private water tankers six months ago. The private tankers illegally siphoned off water from the lake and sold it to commercial complexes and private parties till the lake went dry, they said.
The Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) Engineer (South), K Manjappa said that the lake was earlier under the purview of Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).
“Begur Lake was handed over to us four to five months ago. We are planning to fence the lake, but will do that after a complete survey is done by the tahsildar,” he added.
Meanwhile, members of the Manipal County Road Residents Apartment, who stay close to the lake and a few other volunteers, are planning to form a Lake Trust and undertake several awareness initiatives, in a bid to save the lake.
“Begur Lake used to be a picturesque spot and people used to flock the place. Aside from theft of water, sand mining is rampant. We had sent letters to the commissioners of BDA and BBMP, describing the sad state of the lake on May 9, but there has been no response,” said Kapil Sharma, who organised the ‘Save the Begur Lake’ campaign, a week ago.