Friday, October 16, 2009

Wasted cleaning efforts

Wasted cleaning efforts
Dirt removed from Kalyani pond is being dumped on its sides, only for it to slip into Ulsoor Lake when the water level rises
MANASI PARESH KUMAR


It is spring cleaning time at the Kalyani Pond in Ulsoor Lake. The pond, which is the immersion point for all religious requirements of the city, has a mountainous mass of debris left behind from the immersion of Durga, Ganesh and Gowri idols. It is routine for the BBMP to clear the mess after the festive season ends. But this year’s cleaning is being done in a special way!
The 30-odd labourers are hard at work, carrying hundreds of baskets filled with muck and emptying them on the walkways that surround the pond. Needless to say, the dirt is sliding back into the pond.
Ask the labourers why they are covering the path way with muck instead of piling it in one corner, they say that those are the orders from their contractor. “The tipper to clear the debris is expected on Friday. The mess will be there only till then,” is the excuse given.
Circle the lake once, and you can see that the debris from the lake also piled on the shore. “Usually when they clean the lake, some part of the waste is left on the shore. When the water level rises, this dirt goes back in to the lake,” said Lavina Singh, a 14-year-old girl who comes to the lake for her daily jog.
CHILD LABOUR?
The stench is strong enough to make even the strongest stomach want to hurl. Amidst all this hazardous waste, a young child, who does not look a day older than 12, is seen shifting the mess. “She is 20 years old. She just looks young,” said her parents as they quickly take her away from the questions.
FISHING FREE
It is also a free-for-all fishing season at the lake now. Despite fishing not being allowed in the lake without permission, we found at least 20-odd guys with a rod and a hook around the lake. Ajit Saldhana who also comes there for an evening walk is philosophical about it. “If somebody has to eat a fish caught from Ulsoor Lake, imagine the hunger.”

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