- The residents of Sarjapur worry that as soon as the government denotifies the lakes, land grabbing would be rampant.
- Close to 20 lakes in the area are likely to be denotified by the government.
- Residents believe that the government is doing nothing to stop the rampant illegal activities that take place at the lake sites.
The Karnataka government has announced the denotification of Bengaluru lakes that are dying a gradual death. However, it is not that what bothers the citizens, but the fact that these lakes would soon be up for grabs among the land sharks, especially in Sarjapur area.
It has been found that within a 7 kilometer radius in the area, there are close to 26 lakes that are slowly dying. Eventually, 20 of them are likely to be denotified by the government. In fact, residents have been fighting for these lakes for two years now since they are being used as dumping grounds, but now some of these lakes will soon be up for sale. Things started coming to the fore when a group of enthusiastic residents started digging about the city topography. They found that there were close to 40 lakes in Sarjapura and Attibele Taluks, of which 26 were located in Sarjapur alone. However, all of them were dying. Manylakes could not even be spotted in government records and on Google maps.
Joy V R, secretary of the Sarjapura Residents' Welfare Association, speaking to the Bangalore Mirror said, "We began our fight when Yamare Lake was turning into a dump yard and debris was filling up the lake bed. We asked the authorities, but no one was taking any responsibility."
He further added, "We mapped 26 lakes in our area, which we felt are the most important to retain the groundwater level and we campaigned for this. We took the officials to the spot and showed them what was happening. Many promises were made, but nothing materialised. That is when we thought we will organise a marathon that portrays all the lakes. This event opened the residents' eyes and they saw how our lakes are dying.”
Raising another issue was Maddipati Seshagiri Rao, a techie, who said that his research on the lakes showed that the water in these bodies was sufficient to serve the area. He said, “If we look at the area count of all these lakes we can say the water capacity of just three lakes comes up to 6 tmc ft water, which in itself is more than sufficient for the area. The lakes were actually in a proper shape and were majorly connected each other. A few lakes were even flowing into our neighbouring state, which then joined the oceans.”
Residents also complain of land grabbing and increasing involvement of real-estate mafia who are digging craters into the already vanishing lakes for commercial purpose. Residents in the area believe that authorities can do a lot in stopping them from exploiting the area, but they do nothing. The illegal activities in these areas are rampant during night and early morning hours.
Former Lokayukta N Santosh Hegde, speaking to Bangalore Mirror said, "It is unfortunate that 26 lakes in one area are in this state. Is no authority taking any action? What are the Minor Irrigation and Revenue departments doing? If all institutions fail, we will hit a crisis soon." He also said denotification of lakes is a bad idea.
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 6:55 PM