The dairy farmers in Bengaluru, especially near Dasarahalli and Mahadevpura zone have witnessed cow deaths either due to lung infection or from mastitis. The veterinarians and pharmacy scientists say it is because of the chemicals in the lake. Water from Narasappanahalli Lake in Peenya has been found contaminated.

Centred over 1,000 industries, Narsappanahalli Lake is one of the most polluted lakes, and it can easily be called the 'second Bellandur lake' due to the unchecked release of effluents from industries.

 

The surrounding villages Doddabidrikallu, Yeshvanthpura Hobli and others used to let their cattle graze in the lake premises. But now they fear that grazing here might become fatal, and they might even lose their animals.

 

Manjulamma, a dairy farmer from Doddabidrikallu village, gets her cow inside the lake premises and ties it to a tree. She brings grass and feeds it. When asked about the infection, she said, “I have no other option, and I am dependent on this lake bed for the grass. We do not let our cattle go inside the lake as they get their lungs infected and sometimes suffer from mastitis. I lost three of my cows last year due to the contaminated lake water," she said.

 

Promadh Baliga, a member of Peenya Industrial Area Association and a lake activist, says, “The foul smell in the lake is an evidence of the presence of harmful chemicals. There are many industries releasing effluents directly into the lake, and surprisingly no action has been initiated by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board or from BBMP which is the custodian of the lake.”

Farmers in Peenya, Panathur, Yemlur, and other villages in Bengaluru South surrounding Bellandur Lake are also facing the similar situation. Rajappa, a dairy farmer who owned about 25 cows has now only five milk yielding cows. He says few of them died due to mastitis after drinking the contaminated water from the lakes. Hence, he gave away a few of his cattle to his relatives residing in villages far away from Bellandur and Varthur. "Two of my cows suffered a painful death as their milk-yielding tissues were infected. We suspect that it was due to infection from lake water," he said.

 

Karnataka State Pollution Control Board Chairman, Lakshman had earlier visited most of the polluted lakes in Peenya industrial area and also had asked the units to set up effluent treatment plant failing which he would issue a closure order.

 

"We are aware of the condition of our lakes and will deal with iron hands with the industries causing them harm. Once these effluents treatment plant and STPs are installed in all the lakes and industrial units, the contamination of lakes will be reduced," said Lakshman.

 

Sridhar Pabbisetty, CEO of Namma Bengaluru Foundation, and a lake activist who is closely working with other lake activists in and around Bengaluru opined that “Bengaluru residents consume food, water and milk based on the faith that it is good. But the reality is just opposite to their faith. Most of the milk-yielding cows are suffering from mastitis and are dying. This fact should make us realise that our quality of life is at stake. The contamination from the lake is entering into our body system through milk and vegetables cultivated in Bengaluru and surrounding areas. People depending on dairy farming and cultivation are the most affected,” he said.