Lake stinks, BDA says wait!

Citizens' initiative

Lake stinks, BDA says wait!

Looks like people have stopped waiting for the authorities to act and have decided to make a difference themselves.

The long wait and indifference of the government bodies to clean up the Kalena Agrahara Lake of the floating hyacinth-like weeds prompted the residents, living around the lake, to initiate the process of de-weeding. The residents of Vithola Apartments (facing the lake) and a few others in the neighbourhood have raised Rs three lakh to clean up and revive the lake.

 The residents speak about the problems they face because of the stench from the lake and the apathy of the authorities towards them even after repeated complaints.
The lake was covered with hyacinth-like weeds almost a month before the clean-up began. The residents of the Vithola Apartments are the worst-affected not just because of the stench but also it being the breeding ground for mosquitoes and the possibility of dengue, malaria and other infectious diseases looming large.

Talking about the initiative, J Krishnan, president of Bannerghatta Neighbourhood Association (BANA) says, “The main source of nutrient for this weed is the raw sewage flowing fromthe nearby layouts such as JP Nagar through an open drain.

“Our repeated appeals to the concerned authorities has not had any effect and it was then that we decided to have the de-weeding done ourselves for which we have engaged a contractor from the BBMP. This exercise, which is costing us Rs three lakh, is being funded entirely by the residents of Vithola Apartments and a few from the neighbourhood.”

Krishnan informs that there are 25 labourers working for last four or five days. “It’s not an easy job and each labourer needs to stand deep in the water, which is infested with snakes and during the course of their work, the labourers may get cuts and bruises. They get paid nothing less than Rs 800 per day. It is a dangerous and risky job.”

The residents have certainly done their bit to draw the attention of the authorities to the problem but their pleas seem to have  gone in vain. Asha B Nayak, a resident of  Bannerghatta Road says, “The stench from the lake was unbearable until the cleaning started. The diversion of sewage water into the lake and the immersion the Ganesha idols by the villagers has further destroyed the lake.”

 Ankur Gupta, another resident, reasons that all the government bodies have come and inspected the place but nothing has been done about the problem.

 “My house faces the lakefront and I couldn’t stand in the kitchen and cook, thanks to the stench. My children developed respiratory problems and the fear of contracting dengue and malaria is always there,” she rues.

The are about 123 oddlakes in the City and responsibility to maintain, rejuvenate and revive the lakes, has been divided among the Lake Development Authority (LDA), BBMP and the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA). The Kalena Agrahara Lake comes directly under the purview of the BDA.

The officials of the LDA had inspected Kalena Agrahara Lake on March 8. The CEO of LDA, Dr Ravi Ralph says, “The lake not only has hyacinth-like weeds but the flow of sewage water from nearby areas has further damaged the lake. We wrote to the BDA asking them to prepare a comprehensive development plan because the lake comes under them.”

 The BDA officials claim that a couple of lakes have been taken up for development.
“About 13 lakes in the City have been brought under the comprehensive development plan; the tender for developing 10 lakes has been floated and a detailed report for seven additional lakes is being prepared,” informs TN Naik, chief engineer, BDA. He sums up, “The rejuvenation process of all the lakes cannot be completed at once. It will be done in a phased manner and will take time.”    

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