Friday, July 28, 2006

PPP for lake revival

PPP for lake revival
Public-private partnership will create recreation facilities
The Times of India

The Lake Development Authority (LDA) of Bangalore has leased out the city's lakes to private companies for development and maintenance. This public-private initiative will ensure protection of the lakes from pollution and, the recharging and preservation of ground water. Acting on the Expression of Interest from various private organizations in the city, the LDA has offered the Hebbal Lake, Nagavara Lake, and the Vengayankere Lake on Kolar Road for a lease of 15 years each, informed B K Singh, Chief Executive Officer, LDA.

According to Singh, the Oberoi Hotels chain has taken up the development and maintenance of the Hebbal Lake a month back. "The company has established a 3 million litre per day (MLD) sewage treatment plant at the entrance to the lake waters," said Singh. "The waste water that flows towards the lake will be treated at this plant before being released into the lake," he said. The organization has taken the responsibility to keep the lake free from effluents as well as water hyacinths and moss floating on its surface. The lease is for 15 years and the organization will be paying up Rs 72 lakhs annually, Singh informed. Within a year, the company proposes to establish a children's park, medical care centre, arch bridges, boating jetty and a handicrafts and curio centre to foster tourism.

The management and preservation of the Nagavara Lake has been entrusted to Lumbini Gardens, an Andhra Pradesh based company, at an annual lease amount of Rs 72 lakhs for a 15 year period. "The LDA has given the company a year's time to create facilities for water sports in the lake," said Singh.
"The lake at Vengayankere is in a rather good condition compared to the others," informed Singh. "However, a local company Par.C has started work around the lake and in six months proposes to introduce recreational facilities in and around the lake," he added. Being a small lake compared to the others, the annual lease amount for its development has been fixed at Rs 15 lakhs.

The Authority had prepared a database of lakes in and around Bangalore after physical verification about the lakes, including the water quality monitoring and eviction of encroachment, etc. It had also created public awareness campaign to sensitise the citizens of Bangalore about the lakes especially during festival time.

When it rains…

A couple of decades ago, the Hebbal Lake had a distinct seasonal pattern. It would fill up during the monsoon and go dry in the summer. It boasted of a variety of aquatic life and was thronged by a large number of wild birds that lived around it. However, sewage inflow from neighbouring areas had put the entire ecological system into disarray with water hyacinth and moss choking the lake. All the city's lakes are man-made structures across streams and they are all interlinked creating a 'cascading' effect. Only cleaning up Hebbal Lake and neglecting the other lakes means that when Hebbal Lake overflows during the rains, the water drains into Nagavara Lake which has no sewage treatment.

"The lakes have since then been designed to withstand overflowing due to rains," said Singh. Whenever a lake is made, a fixed full reservoir level (FRL) is built-in which can regulate the flow of water into the lake. "In case of flooding and overflowing, the excess water will drain into the waste-weir which in turn will flow into a smaller lake at a lower location, in a cascading effect," he said, adding that there is no cause for worry during the monsoon.


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