Sarjapura’s residents map their area, find 26 lakes in 7-km radius, allege govt plans to denotify 20, most of which will disappear into the jaws of greed
While the State Government is planning to de-notify the lakes in and around the city that are in a poor shape or which are not in existence anymore, the residents of Sarjapura are worried.
They are worried because within a radius of 7 km, Sarjapura has 26 lakes, of which 20 will get denotified. Residents have been fighting for the lakes for two years now, with dumping of garbage and debris mounting, but now some of these lake may even be up for sale in a few months.
It all began when a bunch of enthusiastic residents started taking a count of the lakes in their vicinity. To their surprise, many lakes in the government records and Google Map were not visible anymore.
So they deepened their research, pulled the records from shelves and saw that there were more than 40 lakes in Sarjapura and Attibele Taluks. Of this, they saw
Sarjapura had 26 — all of them dying.
“We began our fight when Yamare Lake was turning into a dump yard and debris was filling up the lake bed. We asked the authorities, but no one was taking any responsibility,” said, Joy V R, secretary of the Sarjapura Residents’ Welfare Association.
“We mapped 26 lakes in our area, which we felt are the most important to retain the groundwater level and we campaigned for this. We took the officials to the spot and showed them what was happening. Many promises were made, but nothing materialised. That is when we thought we will organise a marathon that portrays all the lakes. This event opened the residents’ eyes and they saw how our lakes are dying.”
Maddipati Seshagiri Rao, a techie, who started to dig into the details, found something interesting.
“If we look at the area count of all these lakes we can say the water capacity of just three lakes comes up to 6 tmc ft water, which in itself is more than sufficient for the area. The lakes were actually in a proper shape and were majorly connected each other. A few lakes were even flowing into our neighbouring state, which then joined the oceans.”
The condition of these lakes is not good at all. “Sand mining and real-estate mafia have made the lakes a dumping yard. THere is rampant encroachment on some lakes and many have dried up. The authorities are not taking any action against the mafia. The illegal activities carry on unhindered in the night or early morning. There are huge craters in the lakes from where the sand has been taken for commercial purpose. Sand has even been taken away from the middle of the lakebed,” said Pradeep, another resident of Sarjapura.
Bangalore Mirror visited the 26 lakes and saw that some had bore wells right inside them. At a few lakes, we could see the sand mafia had left behind gaping holes.
A few lakes such as Yamare Lake 2, even had valves from which water was released into them.
Former Lokayukta N Santosh Hegde told BM, “It is unfortunate that 26 lakes in one area are in this state. Is no authority taking any action? What are the Minor Irrigation and Revenue departments doing? If all institutions fail, we will hit a crisis soon.”
Hegde said denotification of lakes is a bad idea.
RAISING AN ALARM
Denotifying lakes is not the answer. The agencies concerned should come forward and help in the rejuvenation. Lakes get dry as per the season. But, if you try to revive them, they can be catchment area for rain and gives a chance for biodiversity
—Santosh Hegde, Former Lokayukta
Bengaluru was a self-sustainable city, engineered in a way that the only source of water for all its purposes were the lakes. The city didn’t require water from Kaveri at all. The unplanned development of this city has taken its toll on it.
Bengaluru was known as a garden city because of its beautiful lakes. Their destruction will invite further calamities
— Hareesh U
My five-year-old asks me why doesn’t it rain, though it is monsoon. He does not know the rain-giving lakes are being covering up due to our greed..So what will happen to the human race around it?
—Akanksha / Unnati Library Sarjapura Yamare