Dream of a lake – Up in the froth

This is not a picture of Kaikondrahalli lake. But if we could represent the lake of our dreams, we certainly will select this picture of Niagra falls raising a cloud of mist which rains down a faint drizzle in the surrounding areas. Add a few million gallons of murky coloured raw sewage, tonnes of plastic waste, a half submerged buckling lake fence pushed in by the surrounding construction activity, and gushing waters raising a froth and a din among the resident birds, overflowing through the diversion pipes and you have the real picture. It is still beautiful, but not as beautiful as we want it to be.

Many years ago, construction activity picked up within the lake buffer zone (erstwhile definition of 30 m, and now increased to 75 m). Low lying marshes were filled and packed by builders. Construction debris and garbage was dumped and is still being dumped everyday. We predicted that this would happen. Residents and lake volunteers at Mapsas have raised the issue with the BBMP zonal office, corporator, MLA, LDA and Lokayukta office innumerable times in the past 2-3 years. But to no effect! Today is our country’s 70th Independence day. It seems, some people, albeit rich and powerful are truly free to do as they like by ignoring the law of the land. Not a single notice has been served to those who blatantly violate buffer zone by dumping and building on our water ways. Promises for action remain promises and do not translate into action.

After last night’s heavy rainfall, the flow into the lake is tremendously high – Higher than we ever witnessed. It is indeed good that the water flow is coming into the lake and not flooding the surrounding areas as it has been happening in various parts of the city. This water unfortunately brings in tonnes of plastic waste flowing along with raw sewage. The lake fence has been cut/damaged to allow this waste to come in. We, at the lake, will definitely work on removing the plastic waste, but this will be a small step. The bigger step has to come from officials to protect this gem of a lake – by enforcing buffer zones and curbing construction and dumping activity in this zone,
We would like to acknowledge that we have BBMP lakes dept by our side undertaking whatever projects possible within the lake boundaries. We cannot thank them enough for going beyond the call of their duty. But the problems faced by the lake are caused by entities beyond the confines of the lake. It is a larger malaise that has remained unaddressed over the years. We want action by the concerned authorities. We want them to do their job and not protect the rich and powerful, for when the nature’s fury strikes, it will not differentiate.

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