Desilting of Kukkarahalli lake draws ire of eco-activists

Protest on Tuesday to oppose 'threat to biodiversity hotspot'

Desilting of Kukkarahalli lake draws ire of eco-activists

Members of Kukkarahalli Ulisi Samithi are up in arms against the district administration and have threatened to launch a silent protest opposing the de-silting of Kukkrahalli lake.

Environmentalist U N Ravikumar told reporters here that the de-silting project, which has been taken up by the district administration and University of Mysore (UoM) at a cost of Rs 3 crore, affects the ecological, environmental, social, cultural and heritage value of the lake. The samithi members plan to take out a silent protest near Deputy Commissioner’s office on February 28.

Kukkarahalli lake is a biodiversity hotspot with around 170 species of migratory birds nesting and roosting in its green cover of over 400 plant and tree species thus constituting an ecological niche. It is also one of Mysuru’s water-security sources and a recreation centre.

“The fresh water source for the lake is from Poornaiah Canal but the canal has been blocked and also encroached and the lake is starved of water. A severe drought in Mysuru this year has brought the lake to the verge of ecological collapse and de-silting of the lake at this juncture is certain to bring about irreversible loss of water and destruction of the lake,” he said.

“Any expenditure made should be towards conservation of this heritage lake. However, the current development works being undertaken are against the conservation of the lake and people who are aware of the threats to biodiversity and eco-system have advised UoM to desist from de-silting in the current year of severe drought,” said another activist D H Tanuja.

The authorities should stop the desilting and urgently arrange a transparent discussion on conservation and preservation of Kukkarahalli lake on the basis of the master plan before any other tourism-related “development” measures are undertaken, she said. Environmentalist Maj Gen (Rtd) Vombatkere, Shashi Bhooshan, Guruprasad and others were also present.

Uom clarifies

UoM authorities claim that it is inevitable to remove silt and silt mixed weeds around the periphery of the lake. UoM Registrar Rajanna stated in a press release that a team comprising acting Vice Chancellor Dayananda Mane and others had inspected Kukkrahalli Lake on February 23.

As per the release, the VC has said that silt will be removed at dried places in the lake and thus no ecology will be harmed. The VC also confirmed that no structures will be constructed near the lake.

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