‘Revival of Vrishabhavathi will be a boon for B'luru’

‘Revival of Vrishabhavathi will be a boon for Bengaluru’

Hopes revived during the lockdown when the river regained its clarity as industrial waste dumped into the river got reduced

Credit: DH Photo

Vrishabhavathi River, a sacred river fabled to have been originated from the Bull Temple, is now filled with sewage, waste and froth. DH takes a look at how this river, if conserved and cleaned up, can potentially alter the dynamics of the city’s water shortage and pollution.

Rajesh Venugopalan, Director at CytoSorbents said: “It is sad that for decades, this river that runs through 96 wards of Bengaluru has lost its value... It is pathetic that the river is deteriorating into large sewerage that ends up in Arkavathi River taking the city’s filth and polluting water sources downstream.”

Hopes revived during the lockdown when the river regained its clarity as industrial waste dumped into the river got reduced. “This is a reminder that we can restore a vital water source which has lost its lakes to so-called development and restore a heritage that symbolised the beauty of Bengaluru for future generations to see,” he said.

Venugopalan elaborates, “The action taken by KSPCB is critical now more than ever, as we struggle with lack of potable water and polluted environments. It is important that this is taken up with consultation from the active citizen groups of Bengaluru to chalk out and implement an effective strategy to restore Vrishabhavathi as we have restored some of our lakes in Bengaluru. This could potentially make us self-sufficient for water rather than expensive pumping of Cauvery water to the city from 100 km away.”

B C Manoj Bhattacharya, an assistant priest at Sri Gali Anjaneya Swamy Temple, tells that the main reason for pollution in the river is industrial effluents. “During the 1980s and 90s, factories opened their drainage systems into the river, which emanates black-coloured pollutants. It will be a difficult task to clean the entire dirt from the river. If KSPCB wants to clean the river completely, they have to start it from the outskirts, just cleaning within the city will not help.” Bhattacharya recalls a time when the water was crystal clear and pure. His grandfather used water of Vrishabhavathi to do ‘abhishekam’ for the god at the temple.

Berin Lukas, former head of Sociology department and Industrial Relations of St Joseph’s College, remembers her good times along with her friends at the banks of the river. “A group of us in 1979 went for a picnic there, we played in the water, climbed on the rock. In 1980 I joined Bangalore University, then we used to walk down from our campus to the river during afternoons to view the beauty of nature.”

She regrets the current status. “Froth has increased, no one can go anywhere near the river because it is stinking. Many generations of students are not able to enjoy the natural beauty of the place because of the bizarre. We need industries but the government should take strict action against pollution.”

She added: “Revival of the river is not only going to help the humans, but it will also help the flora and fauna to flourish.”

Raghavendra T S, a resident of Mathikere has this to say: “We need clean water to drink, so the revival of Vrishabhavathi will be a boon for the city. Throwing of waste into it by the apartment dwellers and industries should be stopped. Government has to make Bengalureans aware of how to keep water resources clean.”