Last week, various citizens' groups across Bengaluru decided to unite under the banner 'United Bengaluru', hoping to save the city's lakes through a combined effort. Under the aegis of 'Naagarika', the group kicked off by taking stock of the lakes that need immediate attention. 

They began their project with the Yellamallappa Chetty Lake series, located in the North of Bengaluru. This water system encompasses the entire Yelahanka zone. Rampant urbanisation has led to increased encroachment and the dumping of domestic and industrial waste into the lakes.  

The United Bengaluru initiative comprised of urban and lake experts, members of various lake groups, elected representatives and government officials. They visited Puttenhalli, Allalsandra, Yelahanka and Jakkur Lake. The objective of the tour was to assess the extent of deterioration of the lakes. 

The primary motive was to ensure that the city's residents are made aware and follow the National Green Tribunal (NGT) order against dumping into lakes throughout Bengaluru. According to the NGT order, each violation must be fined Rs 5,00,000. The BBMP, BDA and BWSSB are supposed to enforce this regulation. 

Interestingly, rather than only meeting residents, United Bengaluru decided to share details with them about the authorities, representatives responsible for the lake. The initiative encouraged them to file FIRs with the right agency, to ensure quick action in case of violations. 

United Bengaluru has promised the residents that they will help raise a legal complaint and follow up the same with necessary action. Crucially, United Bengaluru also gave assurances that if the authorities fail to take action, the initiative would take the assistance of courts and get the guilty punished. 

 If any citizens wish to get in touch with United Bengaluru to end encroachment of lakes, they have been asked to send a copy of the FIR on violations to unitedbengaluru17@gmail.com and contact Lakshmikantha on +918861768806. 

Information on the lakes: 

1. Puttenhalli Lake covers an area of 40 acres and falls in the Chowdeshwari Ward under the jurisdiction of Karnataka Forest Department (KFD). The Yelahanka Puttenahalli Lake and Bird Conservation Trust has been working to restore the lake and its biodiversity. However, the lake continues to be subject to encroachment (particularly close to Attur bund), dumping and an influx of sewage and industrial effluents from Yelahanka New Town. 

Lake: Puttenhalli
Ward Name: Chowdeshwari Ward
Custody: KFD
Corporator Name: R Padmavathi (9845288774, 9620335035)
Assembly Constituency: Yelahanka
MLA Name: SR Vishwanath (9845017811)
MP Name: DV Sadananda Gowda (080 2268 6697/98)
KFD Officer: Deepika Bajpai (9481960885)
KSPCB Officer: Lakshman (7022566464)
BWSSB Engineer Name: Ramakrishna SM (9845444002)
KLCDA  Officer: Vidyasagar, CEO (9448358690)
Concerned Police Station: Yelahanka New Town PS (080 22942537)

2. Allalsandra Lake, which covers an area of 41.23 acres is in the midst of residential area in the ward of Yelahanka New Town. The lake was completely degraded due to sewage inflow from broken storm water drains. In 2015, Yelahanka United Environment Association (YUVA) and other stakeholders partially restored the lake. However, due to continued urbanisation and lack of planning, sewage and industrial effluents continue to flow into the lake.

Lake: Allalsandra Lake
Ward Name: Yelahanka New Town
Custody: BBMP
Corporator: Satish M (9845637997)
Assembly Constituency: Yelahanka
MLA Name: SR Vishwanath (9845017811)
MP Name: DV Sadananda Gowda (080 2268 6697/98)
BBMP Engineer: Swapna,AE (9480684519)
KSPCB Officer: Lakshman (7022566464)
BWSSB Engineer Name: Ramakrishna SM (9845444002)
KLCDA  Officer: Vidyasagar, CEO (9448358690)
Concerned Police Station: Yelahanka New Town PS (080 22942537)

3. Yelahanka Lake covers an area of over 300 acres and falls under Kempegowda Ward. The lake falls under the jurisdiction of the BBMP, and like Puttenhalli Lake, it is home to a variety of avifauna. While the lake is said to be well managed, the wetlands connecting Puttenhalli and Yelahanka is being encroached. This has accelerated the influx of sewage into the Lake.

Lake: Yelahanka Lake
Ward Name: Kempegowda Ward
Custody: BBMP
Corporator: Chandramma (9980196440)
Assembly Constituency: Yelahanka
MLA Name: SR Vishwanath (9845017811)
MP Name: DV Sadananda Gowda (080 2268 6697/98)
BBMP Engineer: Swapna,AE (9480684519)
KSPCB Officer: Lakshman (7022566464)
BWSSB Engineer Name: Ramakrishna SM (9845444002)
KLCDA  Officer: Vidyasagar, CEO (9448358690)
Concerned Police Station: Yelahanka New Town PS (080 22942537)

4. Jakkur Lake covers an area of 180 acres and falls under Jakkur ward. It lies between Rachenahalli and Yelahanka Lake. Jakkur Lake has been earmarked for the Integrated Urban Water Management (IUWM) project and has a sewage treatment plant (STP) that treats 8 million litres of treated water into the human-made wetland. The wetlands purify the water by a natural process before letting it enter the lake. The lake has been protected from illegal dumping, but residents are concerned that the growth of industries in the vicinity will result in an influx of industrial effluents. 

Lake: Jakkur Lake
Ward Name: Jakkur
Custody: BBMP
Corporator: Munidra Kumar K (9845752211, 9900288555)
Assembly Constituency: Byatarayanapura
MLA Name: Krishna Byre Gowda (080 2362 6678, 080 22256093)
MP Name: DV Sadananda Gowda (080 2268 6697/98)
BBMP Engineer: Swapna,AE (9480684519)
KSPCB Officer: Lakshman (7022566464)
BWSSB Engineer Name: Ramakrishna SM (9845444002)
KLCDA  Officer: Vidyasagar,CEO (9448358690)
Concerned Police Station: Amruthhalli PS (080 22943644)