Saved from land mafia, temple tank getting a makeover

Rs 2.5 crore sanctioned; desilting, laying steps part of project

Saved from land mafia, temple tank getting a makeover
Neglected for years, the kalyani (temple tank) at Vasanthpura in Bengaluru south will soon get a facelift as the rejuvenation work has started. Recently, Infosys Foundation trustee Sudha Murty proposed rejuvenation of the temple tank and the government had accepted her proposal, said sources in the BBMP. The work started on March 20.

A supervisor present there said Rs 2.5 crore has been sanctioned for the work, which includes laying steps to the tank on the western side and strengthening its banks. Already, work is in progress. Labourers are chiselling the stone slabs to construct steps while earthmovers are desilting and deepening the tank. Huge rocks found during excavation will be used for reinforcing the bank.

Legend has it that the kalyani was constructed by Chhatrapati Shivaji’s father Shahaji Raje Bhonsle sometime in the mid 17th century to mark the acquisition of Bengaluru as his jagir. It is said that Bhonsle had won this jagir after defeating Kempegowda-III. Over a period of time, the temple tank, which is spread over two acres on paper, was in danger of disappearing due to official apathy.

As property prices shot up, the real estate mafia set its eyes on this tank in a prime location. With the connivance of muzrai officials, land grabbers created an action plan for what they claimed was “beautification”.

The plan would have ruined the tank as its size would have reduced to a mere 21,000 sq ft from the existing 86,000 sq ft. The rest of the land would have been used for constructing a link road connecting the main road on the northern side of the tank with a property on the southern side. The muzrai department had even taken the services of chief architect of Tamil Nadu Religious Endowment Department to reduce the size of the temple tank. The project was dropped after media reports followed by public outcry.

DH had earlier reported the attempts to grab the temple tank and money meant for the kalyani development. BBMP engineers got Rs 1 crore sanctioned for the development of the temple tank but siphoned off the funds. In this connection, J Kumaraswamy, resident of Gubbalala village in Uttarahalli ward had lodged a complaint with the Bangalore Metropolitan Task Force (BMTF). So far, no charge sheet has been filed.

Kumaraswamy told DH, “We welcome the kalyani rejuvenation programme but the sad part is that the tank has not been surveyed. On paper, the tank is spread over two acres while on ground, almost 30 guntas of the tank have been encroached upon. A survey should be done on a priority basis.”

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