Mathikere lake on verge of extinction

BBMP plans to lay road on the lake bed despite LDA's strong opposition

Mathikere lake on verge of extinction

While illegal dumping of debris and land grabbing have already reduced the extent of Mathikere Lake to one-tenth of its actual size, the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is now planning to lay a road on the lakebed. This will no doubt shrink the lake further.

Road-laying work at the lake, located inside JP Park near Yeshwantpur, is in progress despite strong opposition from the Lake Development Authority (LDA). Strangely, neither BBMP Commissioner M Lakshminarayana nor BBMP Joint Commissioner Bheemappa (Rajarajeshwari Nagar Zone) seem to be aware of the development.

When Deccan Herald spoke to Lakshminarayana, his instant reaction was: “Let me
check with my engineers. I have no information about the road-laying work on Mathikere lake.”

Bheemappa’s reply was even more ambiguous. “I don’t think BBMP is carrying out the work. It must be some other agency.”

Even the ward-level engineer refused to speak about the ongoing work at the lake.
However, a letter written by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the LDA has put the BBMP in a tight spot.

Written on July 24, the letter was addressed to the BBMP Commissioner, asking him to stop the work immediately to save the lake.

“The LDA officers inspected the road-laying work adjacent to the railway track. The lake has been handed over to the BBMP. The Karnataka High Court has categorically stated in response to the writ petition number 817/2008 that no construction activity or development activity inside any lakebed across Karnataka should take place and should be retained as lake.

You should immediately stop the road-laying work inside the lake as this is in violation of the High Court order, and initiate action to protect the water body,” the letter reads.

Action-taken report

The CEO of the LDA has also asked the BBMP Commissioner to submit an action-taken report. Yet, the work is going on in full swing.

It was also learnt that JP Park ward corporator B R Nanjundappa is opposed to the work and had reportedly expressed his displeasure over it, but the ward-level BBMP engineers have chosen to ignore him.

It was Nanjundappa who had protected the lake from land grabbers. As the expansive lake was reduced to a cesspool of sewage and a large portion of it had lost all features of a water body, he converted it into a park named after eminent statesman Jai Prakash Narain. Inside the park, he retained a slice of Mathikere lake.

Now, the leftover portion of the lake is also in danger.

When Deccan Herald spoke to him, he said he had no information about the work inside the lake as the ward engineers had kept him in the dark.

“The BBMP engineers have not informed me what they are doing inside the lake. I am not in a position to speak about it,” said Nanjundappa.

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