Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Can CM Siddhu Revive Bangalore Lakes?

Agara Lake on the agenda of CM Siddharamaiah first city rounds was indeed a shot in the arm for the citizens who have been relentlessly campaigning to revive & save the Agara Lake for the last 6 months.

Earlier Mr Ugrappa Sr Congress Leader, a regular walker at Agara Lake have been supporting the citizens cause had initiated to meet the CM and submit a detailed memorandum. He also has requested the CM to consider a visit to Agara Lake and on 7th Sept 2013 CM visited Agara Lake and got firsthand information on the condition of the lake along with severely senior government officials, local MP and MLA.

Mr Kupendra Reddy Congress Leader thanked the CM for making time to visit the lake and minced no words in conveying the urgent need to revive the lake both from an environmental point of view and from a public health prospective. He pointed out that the sewage water & un-cleared floating garbage has lead to a huge increase in dengue cases in the locality. He also mentioned that the funds has to be allocated at the earliest to speed up the restoration work, and if LDA is not able to act immediately then either BBMP or BDA should be involved to ensure Agara Lake is revived and saved. He also spoke about almost vanishing Parangi Palya/Somasundra Palya/Haralur Lake due to ramped encroachment and stressed on the need to do a re-survey of the lake and clear encroachments.

Mr Satish Reddy MLA of Bommanahalli, who had not shown any interest about the lake over the last few years, did make a request to the CM to allocate funds to revive the lake. He spoke about how the lakes are inter-connected and that it also flows to TN where it is used for agriculture purpose.

Mr Ugrappa stressed upon the need to revive the lake as it is a very large water body of ecologically importance. He also requested the CM to explore the possibility of handing over the lake to BDA or BBMP as LDA seems to lack manpower and technical capability to revive the lake. He drew the attention of the CM on the health hazard due to sewage inlet into the lake.

Mr Ananth Kumar MP of Bangalore South spoke in support of the revival of both Agara Lake and Parangi Palya/Somasundra Palya/Haralur Lake. He appreciated that the CM re-starting the city tours and requested him to make it a regular as it will enabling him to get more direct inputs from the citizens and resolve their concerns effectively. He also promised Rs 25 lac from MPLAD funds for the development of Agara Lake and asked ALPMS team to meet him sometime next week.

Mr Dayananda Reddy MLC drew the attention of the CM on the questions he had raised in the Legislative Council about Agara Lake. He updated the CM that ALPMS which is a citizen initiative has been meeting up with officially across departments and have been driving the cause to save and revive the lake. He spoke about the need to save the lung space and to maintain the ecological balance. Most importantly he brought to the notice of the CM that government has been asking citizens to implement RWH in their home but should not forget that lakes are a great source not only to harvest water but also recharge underground water tables. He mentioned that contaminated water that is getting into the lake will also contaminate the ground water in the long run if it is not addressed immediately.

Chief Minister took note of the memorandum submitted by the members of ALPMS and promised that he will call a meeting of all the concerned departments (LDA, BDA, BBMP, Forest, KPCB, BWSSB etc) and will do the needful at the earliest. He also expressed displeasure on the inaction so far and took a dig at the previous BJP government for not implementing the various reports on encroachments and protection of lakes and environment. He agreed that there is a need to protect the environment and water bodies and will do everything in his capacity to revive the lake. He also directed BBMP Commissioner to do a re-survey of Parangi Palya/SomasundraPalya/Haralur Lake and identify the encroachments.

For the citizens who have been waiting for some action on the Agara Lake, it was indeed reassuring as they could bring it to the notice of no less than a CM of the state. Members of ALPMS who spoke stand committed to keep up the pressure and also contribute to take up some of the critical repair works, and their priority is to get the rain water into the lake.

- Kavitha Reddy