Tuesday, August 17, 2010

How Iblur residents are saving a lake

How Iblur residents are saving a lake

Raghava M.
Here's a great example of what can be achieved when government and people work together

COMING BACK TO LIFE:At one point, the Amalipura Lake disappeared from the local geography.
BANGALORE: It is just like what you do when you build your house; stay put and supervise the construction to your requirements, said K. Rajesh Rao, a resident of Trinity Woods.

Mr. Rao is among the many residents from Iblur working to revive the Ambalipura Lake, the oldest among the 34 in the Bommanahalli Assembly Constituency.

“I want the lake restored to its former glory. It is home to 30 species of birds, including the rare Lesser Whistling Duck. The lake must retain its biodiversity,” said Mr. Rao, standing on the rain-soaked bund. Pointing to the hundreds of tadpoles wriggling in the little puddles, he said: “My daughter Mithali and other children in the locality love to play with these tadpoles.”

The lake is one of the 17 water bodies the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is trying to rejuvenate under Project 2 at a cost of Rs. 1 crore.

“We were happy when the BBMP announced the lake's revival. We are working with the authorities to revive the rich biodiversity of this lake,” said Mr. Rao, whose family is one of the 200 residing in Trinity Woods, a condominium that adjoins the lake. They are also part of Forward 150, a federation of resident welfare associations (RWAs) of Bellandur ward working with the BBMP to rejuvenate the lakes.

Where's the lake?

Ambalipura Lake, a 2.9-hectare water body, is encircled by buildings. While Trinity Woods is on one side, the other three are flanked by the Park Vista, Red Wood and Mantri Flora apartments. “This lake could not be traced for many years. The only sign that it existed was the bund where water was accumulating,” said Murali, local resident.

The lake, which was earlier under the Forest Department, almost died at one point of time as the urban sprawl ate into its inlet and outlet streams. Moreover, sewage was being let into it. The rise in water logging and contamination killed nearly 250 acacia trees on the wetland. And the expanse became a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Panoramic view

“Despite this sorry state, the lake attracted many birds,” said Mr. Rao, showing the videos and pictures of the avian visitors to the lake, which faces his balcony.

The residents, who had brought this condition to the notice of the Forest Department, actively participated in Project 2 when the lakes in their vicinity were selected for rejuvenation. “Our task became easy as the Project 2 team of the BBMP was receptive to our suggestions towards conserving the biodiversity. ,” said Mr. Murali.

Active co-operation

Residents of all the four apartment complexes were involved in bringing several modifications in the detailed project report on the lake. As many as 24 mounds have been created on the wetland, while a big island has been created at the water accumulation point. Residents collected Rs. 1 lakh and bought saplings of 70 different fruit-bearing and other trees that will be planted on the mounds and on the island.

Asked about working with the Government, Mr. Rao said: “If you benefit in the long run, you have to be proactive in all ways. You have to be practical in what you demand and should know what you will reasonably get.


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