A large number of farmers on Monday staged a demonstration at the Chikkalinga Shastry lake in Kaggalipura on Kanakapura Road in south Bengaluru, alleging official apathy. The villagers were aggrieved that the government was blocking their attempts to conserve and develop the lake that provides water for drinking and irrigation in nine villages. J Anthony Swamy of Kaggalipura said that about two decades ago, the villagers had desilted the lake spread over 111 acres. As a result, the water holding capacity had increased substantially.
“It may surprise one that there is a lake with pristine water in Bengaluru. We have maintained it. It is our lifeline today,” he said. The problem emerged when the villagers approached the chief engineer of the Minor Irrigation department with a request to cut a portion of a hillock, which is blocking the water flowing to the lake. “If a rock in the hillock is removed, we will have water round the year. We will not be dependent on any other water source,” said Swamy.
Swamy added that the villagers wanted the chief engineer to act immediately whereas the latter was in no hurry. “The chief engineer said the government takes time to act on the plea and they should not pressure him to give them clearance immediately,” claimed Swamy.
Enraged by the poor response, the villagers staged a demonstration by standing in the lake water on Monday. They said they will intensify their agitation if the government does not heed to their plea quickly.