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Kembattahalli Lake is shrinking, according to official records

In 2016, the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) measured the lake’s spread as eight acres
Last Updated : 22 August 2022, 01:59 IST
Last Updated : 22 August 2022, 01:59 IST
Last Updated : 22 August 2022, 01:59 IST
Last Updated : 22 August 2022, 01:59 IST

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The Kembattahalli Lake in Thalaghattapura, whose cause activists took up two years ago, has been shrinking according to official records.

The lake has shrunk from 7.5 acres to less than 6.5 acres, according to the latest survey. Residents of Kothanur and Kembattahalli said the lake sprawled over eight acres in its prime days, but surveyors shrunk its size either accidentally or by design.

In 2016, the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) measured the lake’s spread as eight acres, but the latest survey on July 14, 2022, states that the waterbody is spread over six acres and 16 guntas.

The lake straddles Kembattahalli and Kothanur in Uttarahalli hobli. This includes three encroachments: a temple (12 guntas) and two burial grounds measuring 1 acre 8 guntas and 20 guntas, respectively.

But encroachments mentioned in the July 13, 2015 survey — 19.5 guntas of road and two 0.5 guntas by Anil Kumar and Venkatesh — have disappeared from the records. The 2015 survey also measured the temple’s encroachment to 4.75 guntas, which has now grown nearly three times.

After sending more than 10 complaints since 2020, residents emailed the National Green tribunal (NGT) detailing official inaction and the extent of the existing encroachments. The latest survey, coming after an NGT order in May, has been hugely disappointing to the residents.

‘Handle with care’

A senior Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) official said civic authorities all but forgot the lake until 10 years ago. “Encroachments began a long time ago,” the official said. “Villagers who had no place to bury or cremate the dead began using a part of the lake land. It has now become a sensitive matter and must be handled carefully.”

The issue surfaced in July when the joint committee to the lake visited the area. Villagers spoke about their connection to the burial ground in the lake and urged officials not to fence the land.

A committee member said revenue authorities agreed to provide them a two-acre alternative land. “But the issue of existing encroachment has been left for the higher-ups to handle. There were emotional scenes during the committee’s visit. Reclaiming the land may be difficult,” he said.

While a diversion drain has been built to stop sewage from entering the lake, the KSPCB official stressed on the need to monitor the stormwater drain. “A wetland-type structure has to be built to stop the entry of the organic and inorganic waste material into the lake,” he further noted.

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Published 21 August 2022, 19:25 IST

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