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

Monday, August 19, 2013

HSR Layout - Ward 174

Last three years have seen the roads of HSR Layout turning from bad to worse; few patch works here and there before the Assembly elections is all that the elected representatives have done in contrary to the claims they have made. Recently BBMP swung into action and sanctioned funds for filling of the pot holes, patch up the worsened road stretches and laying of asphalt on selected roads, not sure on what basis the selection was made. 

A ride on a two wheeler across HSR Layout will tell a different story, exposing all the false claims made by the elected representatives on filling of the pot holes and patch work of the critical stretches, some roads like the 31st main and 24th main of sector 1 stand totally ignored. 

Shoddy work and selective repair work are in full display once you ride through the inner roads of the layout. Each of the cross and main roads have at least 3 major potholes and about 5-6 smaller potholes. What is even more surprising is that the road works are ignored all through the summers and are taken up only during the monsoon only when the roads get worst and unbearable. What stops the authorities from taking up the pre-monsoon repair work?  

Added to the bad roads are the clogged storm water drains, un-cleaned vacant sites, constructing workers defecating in empty site, un-swept roads, un-checked street light that don’t even switch of manually and the door-to-door garbage collection agents who dumps all the segregated waste into one pile.

During the citizen interaction recently the Corporator spoke about building a world class stadium, setting up a dedicated cycling track and making HSR Layout garbage free but if the basic problems are not address all the tall promises will have no relevance or takers. 

It’s time the elected representatives who rarely go around the layout take some time out from their busy schedules and inspect all the roads and ask the relevant departments to take corrective. 

It’s criminal to spend public money on shoddy work and elected representative should be transparent and bring out details on the money spent on this shoddy road work and penalize contractor for bad quality work. 

- Kavitha Reddy 

Also published in Jagran City Plus, HSR Layout 6th Sept 2013

Friday, August 16, 2013

Independence Day

Signing the National Anthem with great pride at 6.40 am in the morning and watching the Flag-off of the 1st edition of the HSR 10K Freedom Run took away all my tiredness. Organizing an event where over 315 participants ran 10K and 5K Run was fun and equally challenging.

Local politics played as the event day approached, the initially planned route was changed as two things happened one the BBMP did not complete the asphalting work on 27th main and HSR Club refused to permit the usage of their parking areas and start and finish point due to political pressure. Mr Coroprator (even though his wife is the elected corporator he the corporator for all practical purposes) who is the Secretary of HSR Club forgot that I had invited his wife to inaugurate a Women’s Day event without any political prejudices and refused permission on some trivial grounds, even though the run had no political affiliation what so ever. I guess it’s the inferiority complex that played on his mind, bet the HSR Club members would not be against a landmark event such as the HSR 10K Freedom Run organized by an NGO Kaagaz Foundation.

Someone like me never let the political pressures to takeover my goal, it only made me more than determined to make it loud and clear to such low minded detractors that ‘where there is a will there is a way’, and nothing can deter an honest effort.

The HSR 10K Freedom Run witnessed an enthusiastic participation by both runners and the residents who came to cheer the runners at the start point and where there till the last runner touched the finish line. The Awards ceremony went off smoothly, the runners disbursed after having breakfast and collecting their certificates.

If waking-up at 2 am to ensure all the arrangements were made for the run was not enough at 9 am I realized that my day just got longer and had to rush to the Blood Donation Camp organized by my Mother’s Organization Mythri Mahila Koota. With a rushed hardly enough breakfast and no good sleep I was the 2nd one in the line to donate blood. Blood donation for me is the best form of social service and Independence Day is the best occasion to show your fellow Indians that you are there in their hour of need.

Independence Day, Republic Day, Kannada Rajyotsava, Gandhi Jayanti should not be symbolic celebration, it should indeed be the day when every Indian does something different, something to express our gratitude to our great nation by helping its people or spreading awareness or fighting for a cause.

Life is unpredictable and I always believed that our busy life should not keep us away from our intent. Many times I meet people of my age and younger to me who want to contribute time for a social cause or do something that is closer to their heart but never can, because they or either making career or fighting ill-health.

Jai Hind 

- Kavitha Reddy