A section of farmers and locals, who depend on Varthur and Bellandur Lake have issued a suicide warning if their livelihood comes under threat. A few days back, apartment owners pitched the idea of fencing the lakes and blocking the entry of local fishermen and dairy farmers.

This 'elitist' plan also required farmers and others only to be allowed into the lake vicinity if they had identity cards. However, the locals say the lake has been theirs since the time of their ancestors and the 'newcomers' cannot dictate terms.

Vibhuthipura and Doddanekundhi lake have become classic examples of this segregation. The BDA has built a fence around the lakes without leaving an entrance for locals, ignoring communities depending on the lake.  

Dairy farmers take weeds and grass from the lake and allow their cattle to drink water. The farmers also collect greens from the lake bed for supplementary income. Fishermen also net their catch in the lakes. 

"But now a few residents and associations from nearby apartments say that these communities should only be allowed into the lake with identity cards. This is wrong," said Ram Prasad, Convenor, Friends of Lakes.
 
Echoing similar sentiments, Jagadeesh Reddy, who is a resident of Bellandur, recalled his childhood days and said many families were dependent on the lake. About 150 odd families still come and pluck greens and grass. 

"The development of lakes should also involve protecting local communities," said Reddy
 
Venkatappa, a dairy farmer from Doddanekundhi, says he is forced to come to Varthur Kodi and Bellanduru tank bed to collect grass for his cattle as the BDA fenced the lake without leaving a proper entrance. 

Only newly built apartments and layout residents are enjoying jogging on the walking track, he lamented. 

"My father used to come with a few cattle and wash them on the banks, and we use to accompany him. We also use to collect vegetable greens and sell it. But we cannot enter with our cows as the entrance is small. This kind development is a threat to our livelihood," said Venkatappa.