Silt, rampant sand mining spell doom for Undabatti lake

Water body was once source of revenue through pisciculture

For the first time in a decade, the 29-acre Undabatti lake on Mysuru-Nanjangud road on NH 212 near Mysuru, has completely dried.

The failure of monsoon in the region, negligence of the district administration in taking up desilting works and unabated illegal sand mining are the main reasons for the lake drying up.

Farmers of the surrounding areas were till recently totally dependent on the Undabatti lake for agriculture. The lake was once a major source of revenue for Devalapur Gram Panchayat, and generated lakhs of rupees as pisciculture was taken up on a large-scale. Gradually, however, fish farming had to be stopped due to illegal sand mining which affected the business, said a villager.

Local residents hold political leaders and government officials responsible for the pathetic condition of the lake. They believe that untimely desilting and rejuvenation works and lack of maintenance are the main reasons for the lakes to go dry. A villager said that a few years ago, illegal sand mining was rampant here and authorities failed to take up any legal measures to control it.

According to Devalapur Gram Panchayat member Siddanayaka, rainfall in the surrounding villages is the major source of water to the lakes. The lake can be rejuvenated and desilted under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, he opined.

While Undabatti lake is almost dry, other major lakes on Mysuru-Nanjangud Road — Dalvoy lake, Deviraminnakere lake, Kalale Katta lake, Sinduvalli lake, Narasambuddi lake — are also on the verge of drying up totally.

Tragedy still haunts villagers
The very mention of Undabatti lake reminds one of the 2010 tragedy when 31 persons, including several children, met watery grave after a mini-bus carrying wedding guests plunged into the lake. The tragedy still haunts the people of the region.

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