Madhuri Subba Rao had never imagined that saving a lake could be a harrowing experience. When she invited the officials of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to see for themselves the rampant encroachment on Doddabommasandra lake near Kodigehalli, BJP’s Doddabommasandra corporator Jayalakshmamma's husband Pillappa, who is a former corporator, came there and abused her in the public.
Rao said, “I was absolutely taken aback on how abusive Pillappa was in front of the officials. He asked me to refrain from bringing the matter to the notice of officials. He also went to the extent of asking me who I was to stop dumping soil into the lake.” Rao has lodged a complaint with the Vidyaranyapura police station against Pillappa.
When contacted, Pillappa denied allegations of encroachment. “We were excavating the lake to increase its water holding capacity and were dumping the soil in its wetland. This gave an impression of encroachment on the lake. The truth is we want to revive the lake by installing sewage treatment plant there. The Bharat Electronics Limited is contributing Rs 13 crore for the work,” said Pillappa.
When contacted, senior BBMP officials confirmed that the motives behind filling soil inside the lake were ‘highly doubtful’. “Trucks after trucks were dumping soil inside the lake. An earthmover was employed to level the place. The motive was apparently to encroach upon the lake. We took the contractor to task and warned him sternly to remove the soil dumped there,” said a senior officer in the BBMP's lake division. Doddabommasandra is the place where the BBMP had recently demolished buildings constructed on a stormwater drain. The drain, which has been created by razing buildings, is meant to allow rainwater into the Dodda Bommasandra lake. However, illegal dumping on soil inside the lake defeats the purpose of demolishing buildings.
BBMP chief engineer (Lakes) S Somashekhar, Palike's deputy conservator of forest Jagannath Rao along with the officers of Lake Development and Conservation Authority visited the lake, acting on the complaint lodged by Rao, about encroachment.