The suicide by two high school students who jumped into the Sankey Tank on Tuesday and the drowning of an engineering student at Hunasemaranahalli lake the day before underline the need for enhancing safety and security at the water bodies in the City.
Several cases of people committing suicide by jumping into lakes and drowning have been coming to light from several water bodies in the City that lack proper fencing and deployment of security guards.
Sankey Park Walkers’ Association members opine that the incident at Sankey Tank could have been averted if there were enough security guards deployed by the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) that maintains the water body. A K Kini, treasurer of the association, said they had earlier sent a memorandum requesting the Palike to depute at least six security guards.
“We did not receive any favourable response. Presently, there are only three security guards. The lake is 1.6 km long and it is difficult for three guards to monitor visitors. Three months ago, a person had attempted suicide here,” said Kini. He also added that the height of the fence needs to be increased within the tank premises.
Brijesh Kumar, BBMP Chief Conservator of Forests (Lakes and Horticulture), said: “It is not mandatory that security personnel have to be deployed at water bodies. However, we have taken steps to deploy guards at 45 lakes. Sankey Tank is one of the well-developed lakes in the City and equipped with safety measures. If someone wants to commit suicide, then who can stop him/ her?”
Custodians of the lakes
Kumar said that last year two young boys drowned at Devasandra Lake that comes under the BBMP. “The lakebed was encroached upon and hence, it was the duty of the revenue department to take measures to see that area is secured. We are only the custodians of the lakes,” he added.
According to Lake Development Authority Executive Engineer, S R Nagaraj, the objective behind fencing the lake is to protect it from encroachers and also for security reasons. “We have fenced all our four lakes and till date no such incident has taken place there,” he claimed.
Co-Founder of Save Bangalore Lakes Trust (SBLT), Arbind Gupta maintained that the caution sign boards should be installed at the deep lakes so that people stay away and avoid unpleasant events.