Sixty-seven lakes, most of them neglected for years, are set to be rejuvenated at a cost of Rs 200 crore that will come from the state government.
While the much-needed funds may breathe life into some of these waterbodies, the success of this exercise depends on ridding stormwater drains of sewage.
The Rs 200 crore is part of the Rs 6,000 crore promised by the government under its Amruth Nagarothana programme. Of the Rs 6,000 crore, the government has set aside Rs 3,218 crore for all assembly constituencies while the rest of the funds will go to the different departments of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).
The civic body has ensured that lakes that never received any attention in the past get some funds. Most of the lakes, identified for rejuvenation, are on the outskirts of the city. For example, Venkateshpura, Junnasandra and Gunjur Palya.
Some lakes that have received funds in the past have also been included. These are Sankey Tank, Rachenahalli, Halasuru, Allasandra, etc. Strange as it may sound, the BBMP has set aside Rs 15 crore on building a compound wall for the balance portion of Mallathahalli lake located in the RR Nagar assembly constituency. The grant will also be used for the construction of the waste weir.
The funds will be spent on pathway improvements, fencing, inlet, development works, strengthening of wetland, trash barriers, main bund seepage rectification, construction of diversion drain, etc.
Experts want the BBMP to come up with a holistic plan of developing lakes. Most of the lakes rejuvenated in the past have gone back to their previous condition due to the constant flow of sewage.
V Ramaprasad, the convener of volunteer group Friends of Lakes, said the BBMP should first focus on undertaking core works such as desilting, strengthening the bund, and fixing inlets and outlets in all works before squandering funds on unnecessary works.
“Nearly Rs 80 crore has been already released for Mallathahalli lake. It gets funds again even as many lakes are left to die,” he said.