Varthur lake faces strangulation

Massive encroachment of valley zone, feeder canal under way; topography altered

Varthur lake faces strangulation
Blatantly violating every rule against buffer zone constructions, a massive encroachment of the Bellandur Amanikere (valley zone) linking the city’s Bellandur lake with Varthur lake is now underway.

Three weeks before the National Green Tribunal (NGT) verdict, the dumping of excavated mud and debris on the zone had intensified, seriously threatening the life of Varthur lake.

The boundary fence built by the Lake Development Authority (LDA) has been breached at several points, indicating a deliberate ploy to take over the valley zone land through which the link canal flows. Round-the-clock dumping by 10-wheeled trucks has already destroyed hundreds of acres of lake land. Vast stretches of the zone, covered by verdant green farms barely weeks ago, have disappeared.

Absolute audacity
Shocking scenes of absolute audacity greeted Deccan Herald as mountains of earth excavated from a nearby building complex site lay dumped all over the valley zone. The approach roads to the zone with the canal, which passed through vegetable farms, bore the marks of heavy trucks ferrying the mud and debris.

The day and night unloading apparently follows a sinister plan. The dumping first started on the private land owned by the local farmers outside the LDA fence. Once the land was raised to over 8 ft, the trucks bulldozed through the fence and began dumping right on the lake / canal land. Long stretches of land on either side of the fence are now at the same height, with the fence caught in between.

Local villagers and activists spearheading a campaign to save Varthur lake say the plan is to eventually bury the fence, banishing every trace of the lake boundary.

The excavated mud from 23 apartment projects coming up in the vicinity are being dumped here. Indications are that a nexus of a few local politicians well connected to a powerful MLA and builders are behind the entire exercise. The daylight violation of the LDA boundary is proof enough, said an activist.

Designed to kill
Observers say the encroachment clearly follows a pattern. Land movers and excavaters are used to level and compact the layers of debris and mud. The exercise appeared well-oiled, determined to maximise the encroachment. Lake activists are convinced that the valley zone with the link canal, so critical to Varthur lake’s survival, will soon be endangered as well.

Studies by Indian Institute of Science (IISc) researchers have established that the dumping of debris in wetlands and valley zones alters the natural topography, severely affecting the lake catchment. The natural flow of storm water into the canals and thereafter to the lake gets disrupted, leading to flooding of neighbouring residential areas.

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