Monday, October 25, 2004

IT support for city lakes

Lakes’ upkeep in city may get IT touch
The Asian Age

Bangalore, Oct. 23: Taking a cue from other departments on private participation in governance, the Lake Development Authority is planing to rope-in IT companies, NGOs and resident associations for restoration and maintenance of selected lakes in the city. The LDA has already identified three lakes including the Madiwala tank and Hebbal tank for this project.

LDA chief executive officer A.K. Varma told The Asian Age that this initiative is being taken to attract more tourists to Bangalore as the government has been promoting the city as an eco-tourism destination.

“We have already begun talks with IT companies and some have even agreed in-principle, to sign a memorandum of understanding with us in a month or two,” he added.

Apart from restoration of lakes, the project will include developing landscapes, gardens, jogging-tracks and aquariums around the lakes. Boating will also be introduced in these lakes. The LDA will ask the private participants to contribute Rs 4-5 crore towards the development of each lake, Mr Varma said adding that all these facilities will be in place in a year’s time.
The revenue generated from the entry fee will be shared by the private companies and the LDA and a portion of it will be used for maintaining the lakes. The private companies will also be allowed to put up billboards and run canteens in the premises.

Mr Varma disclosed that the LDA was planning to involve NGOs and residents associations in the efforts to protect lakes in the city. “Under this scheme, the LDA will take up a tank rejuvenation programme, while NGOs and resident associations will be involved in the maintenance and protection of small and mid-sized tanks in the city,” he said.

Referring to the deteriorating state of small and mid-sized water bodies in the city, Mr Varma said the LDA, which is a government agency, cannot ignore the importance of these tanks as there are a large number of them in the city waiting to be maintained and developed for a long time.
“We have already prepared a comprehensive development plan to rejuvenate these tanks. Work on them will start shortly,” he said.

According to Mr Varma, the LDA has received several applications from resident associations and NGOs for the maintenance and development of lakes. These applications will be scrutinised after which organisations with past experience in managing parks and other pubic places will be selected for the purpose, he added.


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