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Karihobanahalli Lake lies on deathbed

Last Updated : 17 August 2019, 05:38 IST
Last Updated : 17 August 2019, 05:38 IST
Last Updated : 17 August 2019, 05:38 IST
Last Updated : 17 August 2019, 05:38 IST

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A lake that could have been an oasis in the polluted environs of Peenya Industria Area has itself become a toxic dump, thanks to a rampant discharge of effluents from factories.

But unlike other waterbodies in the city, the condition of Karihobanahalli Lake stands hidden from public glare because the area surrounding it is sparsely populated. And government agencies responsible for its upkeep look the other way, despite knowing all too well that it's on the verge of extinction.

Karihobanahalli Lake is the largest of the five waterbodies in Asia's biggest industrial area. Right now, it's the most sought-after dumping yard for bulk waste generators which empty truckloads of garbage into the lake in the dead of each night. Any piece of trash that doesn't flow in the water is conveniently set afire.

It is not that government agencies are unaware of the problem. For more than five years now, the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) has been grading the lake's water quality as 'Below-E', meaning the degradation has gone beyond 24%.

In its action plan for Peenya Industrial Area, the KSPCB pointed out a major problem: "The missing link in sewerages from all these (Peenya Phase III and I) areas are leading to Shivapura, Karihobanahalli and Dasarahalli tanks located in Peenya Industrial Area and into stormwater drains leading to Vrishabhavathi Valley."

A local factory worker laid bare what industries have been doing to the lake. "Despite clear rules that industries must treat the effluents before discharging them into a waterbody, no one cares. Not just effluents, even sewage is being diverted to the lake. If the dumping of garbage has changed the colour and odour of the water, the burning of trash is polluting the area even more."

During a visit to the area, this reporter found that factories have diverted multiple outlet pipes to the lake. The pipes are covered with debris so as to keep them hidden. Some pipes run right into the middle of the lake. A walk into the lake's catchment area helped this reporter find an outlet pipe that clearly makes its way into the lake.

According to another factory worker, the lake's condition has remained hidden from public glare because there is no residential area in the vicinity. "Factories open during the day and this place looks desolate. There is no one to question the factories. We have seen garbage being dumped and burned here in late evenings and early mornings," said Shivaraj, a factory worker.

Encroachment has also eaten into the approach road to the lake which lacks a boundary. Local residents fear land sharks are at work.

Karihobanahalli Lake, earlier maintained by the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), was handed over to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) in 2017. A BBMP official conceded that there are many issues with the lake. "We are waiting for funds to rejuvenate this lake. Once the money comes, we will partner with the KSPCB and revive the lake," said Ravi, Executive Engineer (Lakes), BBMP.

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Published 16 August 2019, 18:24 IST

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