Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Somasundara Palya - Haralukunte Lake


The city of Bangalore once known for its lake and greenery is shedding that tag much faster than the growth of the city itself. Real estate greed over the last 15 years has witnessed in the death of many lake across the city. The environmental activists have been fighting somewhat a losing battle given the rate and level of encroachment and disruption of these wonderful water bodies in the city.

Lakes in the localities closer to rural Bangalore were one of the primary sources of water for the residents. The lake had a natural flow and connected a series of lakes and stored an excellent quality of rain water each rainy season brought in.

Somasundara Palya- Haralukunte Lake which is few kilometers away from Agara Lake is one such lake that is close to extinction. The lake that was spread over close to 17 acres just a few years ago has already lost about 3 acres to encroachments. The two fold encroachment of the lake bed and the catchment area by Karnataka Compost Factory and the local real estate dealers is out in open for everyone to see.

The modus operandi is very simple, since the lake is devoid of any fencing, truck loads of debris from various construction sites gets dumped around the lake eating into the lake area, piles and piles of un-segregated waste of the Govt run composite unit adds to the deteriorating surroundings. As lake surroundings get filled by the debris JCB’s are rented out to even out the area clearly shrinking the lake itself.

BDA has done very little rather nothing other than putting up a board asking people not to encroach, which is indeed a lame attempt to stop the illegal encroachment without any genuine  effort/plan to revive or save the lake. Land grabbing or encroachments do not happen without political patronage, which eventually gets regularize using political pressures and support. It will not be wrong to say that Somasundara Palya-Haralukunte Lake which almost looks like a sewage pond is heading in that direction.

Info gathered by Bala
As per the report submitted by the committee constituted by the Honorable High Court, 30 meters buffer zones around the lake in form of tree parks to ensure the buildings are not close to the lake was to be the norm. Neither the key suggestions of the Justice N K Patil committee have been considered nor has the report been implemented in totality since Feb 2011. 

The local elected representatives have shown little or no interest in even making an attempt to revive and restore this lake. Providing lung space, preserving water bodies that recharge the ground water and working towards creating an environmental friendly neighborhood seems to be least of their concern. This kind of apathy and indifference raise many serious questions on the motive or functioning of the representatives.

The questions that will need some answers are:
  1. What action has been taken to stop encroachment and restrict buildings 30 meter from the lake?
  2. Why was there no pressure put on BDA to fence the complete lake surroundings?
  3. What action has been taken against the truck which dumps debris in broad day light?
  4. What is the master plan to revive the lake and remove all illegal encroachments?
Some of the concerned residents in the area have been working toward bringing in much needed attention and create awareness on the need to save the lung space. Concrete jungle that already around the lake needs this water body to be rejuvenated and brought back to life, as neighborhood are not just about home it is also about environment.

- Kavitha Reddy

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