On India’s 70th Independence Day, Bengaluru woke up to flooded streets, neighbourhoods and homes caused by just one night of rain.
In the past the city looked forward to rain as it recharged the ground water table, its lakes and was a life-line for its eco- system. But tragically, the rains are dreaded by Bengaluru today as they create havoc in a city that has been subject to cruel, greedy exploitation by a cabal of vested interests, including politicians.
The "rain-effect" has increased over the last few years primarily due to encroachment and deterioration of lakes and storm water drains, which are crucial for storing rain water and maintaining the ground water table. Reports from experts in the Indian Institute of Science say that over 98 per cent of our lakes are encroached on by vested interests.
The United Bengaluru initiative led by senior freedom fighter, H. S. Doreswamy, has inspected many lakes across Bengaluru and filed complaints with police stations across the city and also petitioned the Lokayukta to take action against errant public servants responsible for the deliberate killing/encroachment of Bengaluru’s lakes.
It is also heartening that the Bengaluru media has stepped up its role of speaking up for citizens. The Deccan Chronicle report ‘Of shrinking lakes and buck-passing babus’ dated July 19, 2017 was referred to by the Karnataka State Human Rights Commission in its notice to the BBMP directing it to submit a report on dumping of garbage and encroachment of the Kachara kanahalli Lake in Sarvagnanagar. These are examples of a truly awakened and aware citizenry.
I am proud of the efforts of Bengalureans to protect Namma Bengaluru. I am confident that citizens, the media and the judiciary working with sincere elected representatives can and will defeat the unholy nexus of greedy politicians and businesses that have long threatened to destroy our city.