Saturday, November 28, 2009

Hebbal Lake blues

Hebbal Lake blues

Hyacinth growing all over Hebbal Lake.

Y Maheswara ReddyFirst Published : 28 Nov 2009 01:09:50 AM ISTLast Updated : 28 Nov 2009 10:50:13 AM IST
BANGALORE: At first sight, Hebbal Lake, one of the largest man-made lakes in Bangalore city, comes across as a visual delight. Built in the 16th century to meet water requirements of surrounding areas, the lake was handed over to East India Hotels (EIH) Ltd for maintainence purposes in 2006.
EIH had bagged the contract from the Lake Development Authority (LDA) to develop the lake under a public-private partnership. It was expected to spend Rs 16.50 crore for integrated development of Hebbal Lake and the development work commenced on February 1, 2007. The EIH has developed a garden, the entry fee for which was fixed as Rs 20 per head.
The lake also had boating facility.
However, all the development activities came to a stand still with High Court’s interim order against privatisation of lakes in Bangalore on November 4, 2008. Now, there is no boating facility. On week-ends, the park and garden are the favourite destinations for many families residing in surrounding areas. However, there are no canteens in the area. “It will be great if the management also starts a canteen,’’ says Abeebullah who had come to the park.
However, an official from EIH Ltd makes it clear that the company has no plans to start a canteen. “It will pollute the park. Our intention is to keep the park free from pollution or garbage,’’ says the EIH official under the condition of anonymity.
The view of the lake and pelicans at two bird nests located in the lake are visual treats for visitors. “We stopped boating since it disturbs the birds,’’ he said.
Garbage here and there However, the lake is not immune to the spread of hyacinth and garbage.
Though the lake has a fence, there is still garbage at some parts of the lake. The mounds of garbage at Kalyani, an immersion tank, is an example.
“We have spent Rs 70 lakh on fencing of the lake but people still throw garbage into it,’’ complains one of the employees of EIH Ltd.
Elaborating on the development work, the EIH Ltd representative said that the company had spent Rs 4.50 crore on sewage treatment plant. “We want to use this facility to treat the sewage water and release the treated water into the lake during summer when the water-level decreases,’’ he said.
He said that the company has taken up the development of the lake not for commercial gain but to protect and preserve the lake. “We are paying Rs 6.30 lakh per month to the Lake Development Authority but earns only Rs 1.50 lakh by way of entry fee,’’ he said.
On garbage at the Kalyani and hyacinth in the lake, he said that efforts are being made to clear hyacinth.
“We expect it to cost us Rs 2 lakh. The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike authorities have promised to clear the lake. If they fail to do it, we will clear it on on our own,’’ says the official.
The lake is not immune to the spread of hyacinth and dumping of garbage.
EIH is planning to clear the lake of this. The BBMP has promised to clear the garbage heaped at Kalyani, an immersion tank


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