Biota booted, Citizens step in to save Agara lake

High Court order puts Agara lake back into LDA's hands. Citizens too want to protect the lake.

The Karnataka High Court cancelled the lease of Agara lake in HSR Layout given to Biota Natural Systems (India) Pvt. Ltd on February 29, 2012. Biota had filed a petition against the termination of lease of Agara lake by Lake Development (LDA) in 2009. Following the High Court judgment, the lake has been handed back to the LDA, Bangalore.

The under-maintained Agara lake, adjacent to HSR Layout, off the outer ring road. Pic: Anisha Nair

The judgement from high court

Biota contested LDA’s termination of its contract in its petition. Biota claims that they could not take up any development work on the lake due to the delay in handing over the lake.

The lake was handed to Biota in August, 2007. Right after that, Rudrappa, a resident of Agara village had challenged the lease of the lake by filing a PIL which was disposed off.

In 2008, Environment Support Group (ESG), an NGO, filed a writ petition against the lease of the lake. ESG filed the petition on the grounds that the lease of the lake to profit making organisations was in violation of principles of intergenerational equity and public trust. The lease was also against the Karnataka Parks Preservation Act, 1975, they claimed. This case was also disposed off.

However LDA demanded the termination of the lease of the lake in 2009 saying the lake was neglected by Biota and no development was carried out.

Residents to step in?

Residents of Koramangala and HSR layout are putting efforts to maintain and revive Agara Lake now since the lease to the private company is cancelled. Save Agara Lake is an initiative taken up by the residents of Mantri Sarovar towers on Outer Ring Road to maintain the lake.

Ganesan M, 44, member of the Save Agara Lake initiative says, "a lot of people come to this lake from far off places. They are keen on reviving the lake and maintaining it."

Residents are now trying to understand the reason for lower water levels in the lake. Satheesh Amilineni, a software engineer and an active member of the community says, "problem with the Agara lake is that water from catchment area is not directed into the lake. Just rainwater from HSR Layout is enough for the lake to get full. But after flooding in HSR Layout due to Madiwala lake overflow few years ago, looks like rain water drains are all connected to the sewage lines and no water is coming into Agara Lake."

LDA’s plans for Agara lake

After getting the responsibility of the lake, LDA believes that their prime focus is to ensure good inflow of water to the lake. They are also planning to construct a sewage treatment plant to ensure better quality water flowing into the lake.

U V Singh, CEO, LDA, says, "we are preparing a draft consisting of the requirements of the maintenance of the lake and will submit it to the state government soon. Our engineers are examining the long-term requirements of the lake. Depending on that,w if less fund is needed, the LDA itself will fund it. If more fund is required, we will have to ask the state government to fund it."

Singh further added that they will be taking the help of the nearby Resident Welfare Associations and other groups for the revival and maintenance of Agara lake on the lines of other lakes like Puttenahalli and Meistripalya that are being maintained by residents.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Similar Story

Smothered by smog: Struggle of vegetable vendors in Delhi’s Keshopur Mandi

Delhi's air pollution affects every resident, but for the urban poor, like vegetable vendors of Keshopur Mandi, it is much worse.

Halfway through our interview, vegetable vendor Rekha asked me point blank, “Isse kya hoga,” and at that moment, I could not think of an answer. She was right and had every reason to be hopeless. Much has been written about air pollution and much energy has been spent on expert committees and political debates and yet nothing has changed.  “Hum toh garib log hai, hum kisko jakar bole, hamari sunvai nahin hoti” (We are poor people, to whom do we go, nobody listens to us),” says Rekha Devi, who sells vegetables in the Keshopur Mandi. Keshopur is a large retail…

Similar Story

Study shows TNPCB ill-equipped to monitor the environmental impact of pollution

The scientific team of TNPCB is working at half its strength, affecting the Board's ability to carry out inspections in Chennai and other parts of the State.

The Central Pollution Control Board and the State Pollution Control Boards are the primary custodians for preventing and controlling all forms of pollution in our country. Despite their significant role in environmental protection, the public is mostly unaware of the functions of these regulatory bodies, due to insufficient research. Therefore, we at Citizen consumer & civic Action Group (CAG) have attempted to understand the functions of the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB), through a study titled ‘The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board in Retrospect: An Examination of Selected Parameters from 2017 to 2022.’ Read more: Fisherfolk lament as environmental…