Saturday, February 06, 2010

Lakes held to ransom

Lakes held to ransom

Express News ServiceFirst Published : 06 Feb 2010 09:37:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 06 Feb 2010 10:19:50 AM IST
An significant increase in lake pollution due to sewage and waste discharge from the Bangalore Central Jail has become a matter of grave concern for the residents of Kudlu Village, Anekal Taluk .
The 9,000 residents of this village once depended on the Kudlu lake and the adjoining Parappana Agrahara lake for their daily drinking water supply but the pollution caused by the jail has made it virtually impossible for them to get clean water. Their pleas to the authorities have fallen on deaf ears .
“In the first two years after the jail was relocated here in 1997, there was no such problem, but after that, we started seeing the change,” says Chikkamuniyappa, former member of the local gram panchayat. He said that before the jail relocated, they depended on these lakes for their drinking and daily water needs. But now the stink is so revolting that they can barely stand next to the lake .
Chikkamuniappa said, “Two years back, former chairman of the village panchayat Babu Raj had reported this matter to the jail superintendent and also to the forest department .
Though we were promised that a suitable action would be taken, no such thing has happened.” “We used to see a variety of birds on these lakes but in the past 10 years, the bird population has dwindled significantly,” says Jagadeesh, a local resident. There used to be tortoises and plenty of trees around the lakes, but nothing is left since the central jail and the silk factory started dumping acids and chemicals in them. The forest department has no care towards this lake,” Jagadeesh said .
Rohan D’Souza, Senior Research Associate at ATREE (Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment) said, “The whole chain is polluted as all the lakes are interconnected.” The pollution starts at Parappana Agrahara lake, flows into Kudlu lake and from there into Haralur lake and then on to Kasavanahalli lake and into Kaikondrahalli lake and finally into Varthur lake .
Rohan said, “Pollution of Kudlu and Parappana Agrahara have increased of late from two main sources, sewage and other waste from the recently relocated Central Jail, and from the stormwater drain which also brings in sewage from Hosa Road, which meets Hosur Road.” According to Rohan, the locals never had their sanitary lines or their sewage directed to lakes. This was done in soak pits outside individual houses. So the sewage entering the lakes is a more recent phenomenon and fallouts of a particular type of urbanisation .
He added, “The impacts are on the quality of water, which to some extent replenishes the groundwater of surrounding areas, including Kudlu village. These areas don’t get Cauvery water but depend heavily on ground water for household needs.” When contacted, a senior official of BBMP said, “The lake you are referring to does not come under our jurisdiction but is the responsibility of the forest department. There are currently 23 lakes to be maintained by us and Parappana Agrahara and Kudlu do not come under it.” However, the BBMP website shows that Kudlu lake comes under their jurisdiction and it was last inspected on July 15 2009, wherein the lake status was shown as clear water .
Speaking to , Deputy Forest Officer, Bangalore Circle, Devaraj, said, “We are taking a step-by-step action to clean the lakes and by next year we will completely rejuvenate them.”

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