Kundavada lake emptied for smart city work, animals die

Hundreds of aquatic animals die after Kundavada lake emptied for smart city project

Environmentalists believe that the smart city development work could have been executed scientifically without killing aquatic animals

Snakes, birds, fishes, turtles, snails, crabs were found dead in Kundavada lake. Credit: DH Photo

Hundreds of aquatic animals including snakes, birds, fishes, turtles, snails, crabs were found dead in Kundavada lake which had been dried for the smooth execution of development works under the smart city mission.

A team of 20 volunteers led by Davangere University Micro Biology Professor S Shishupala visited Kundavada lake in the city to rescue aquatic animals after learning that turtles were spotted in the lake. But to their shock, they found only dead aquatic animals.

He said he was pained to see dead aquatic animals in the lake which turned into grave yard.  Environmentalists were not against development of the lake. But the officials of smart city project could have executed lake development work scientifically without killing aquatic animals. There was no need to empty the entire lake all of a sudden and bring earth-movers to remove silt. They could have emptied water from one portion of the lake and this would have helped aquatic animals to survive, he pointed out.

"Many Asian Openbill birds have arrived and they might have eaten snakes. So, we could not find many dead snakes but many dead turtles, birds, fish were found. We had cautioned the officials of the smart city development project that aquatic animals would die if the lake is emptied without taking precautionary measures."

 Speaking to DH, Deputy Commissioner Mahantesh Bilagi said he has received the letter from Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Authority following the complaints submitted by environmentalists opposing the lake development work. "I will discuss Kundavada lake development work in district-level committee and I take suitable steps in this regard."

Defending the work, he said lake water had to to be emptied for the removal of silt as part of development work and there was no point in opposing it. He promised he would hold a meeting with the district-level committee members and discuss the issue in detail.