BENGALURU: Over 10,000 people from Bengaluru, Mangaluru and even Ballari ran for the Vrushabhavathi river braving the rain that lashed for almost an hour on Sunday morning.
The passion to revive the 'Kengeri gutter' back to Vrushabhavathi river made the elderly and children to walk and run the 6 km stretch along the banks of the river from Ganesha Temple Playground near Surana College in Kengeri to Bangalore University.
The 'Run for Vrishabahavati' was led by activist Chakravarthi Sulibele's Yuva Brigade and was organised in association with Youth for Parivarthan, R.R. Nagar-I Care, Samartha Bharatha, Namami Vrushabhavathi Foundation, Vrushabhavathiya Koneya Kanneeru, Rotary Club Kalpa Tharu, Tejashwini Ananthkumar's Adamya Chethana and others. The Bangalore chapter of Extinction Rebellion (XR) partnering with Greta Thunberg's Fridays for Future (FFF) for the Global Climate Week 2019 also aligned with the city organisations in the run.
“It was shocking to know that most of the participants were unaware that the Kengeri gutter is Vrushabhavathi river. It was here that they came to know that Bengaluru has a river and it was a source of water for the city.
Thousands of people woke up to the seriousness of the situation. This is a new beginning for the years-old Save Vrushabhavathi movement,” environmentalist Chaithanya Subrahmanya told Deccan Chronicle.
Participants raised slogans like 'No helmet means fine, No mask means death' pointing to the extent of pollution in the river.
Thousands arrived from Ballari and Mangaluru. Those from Mangaluru hoped that their life source Nethravathi river's "destruction" under Yettinahole project could be averted by reviving Vrushabhavathi. "Successive governments seem to think that Bengaluru's development is state’s development. When will they realise that Karnataka comprises 30 districts and not Bengaluru alone,” asked Ms Niveditha.
She felt that revival of Vrushabhavathi is a saner option than destroying Nethravathi river and Western Ghats through a "catastrophic" project like Yetthinahole.
"Reviving Vrushabhavathi can create a water source for Bengaluru as it was decades ago. But going by the extent to which it has been battered, it will take at least 20 years to get it back in shape. We hope that this movement and successive ones will create a will in the government to work in this direction," Mr Chaithanya said.
Volunteers managed traffic and ensured that the public life and traffic on Mysuru Road was not affected despite the big participation. Going with the eco-friendly concept of the run, drinking water was provided in reusable bottles, breakfast was served in areca plates by Adamya Chethana and areca spoons were used.The used plates and spoons were not discarded. Instead, they were collected and sent to a farm maintained by the Yuva Brigade in Kanakpura for mulching.