Bengaluru: Rachenahalli Lake is one of the few thriving water bodies in the city, thanks to the efforts of the voluntary group, Jalmitra, which has been taking several steps to maintain the lake.
But unfortunately, some buildings have come up less than 30 metres from the lake, forget the 75-metre ban placed by the National Green Tribunal around water bodies. The "development" that has put the lake under threat has angered the citizens as civic agencies have remained mute spectators.
Sanjeev D., a member of Praja RAAG – an advocacy group, and an active member of Jalmitra asks, "How can the BBMP give permission to build such a structure so close to the lake? This is a clear violation of the rules and it is the BBMP's duty to monitor such activities around the lake. They want someone to go up and complain for them to act. I feel they should proactively take action against such activities."
Rachenahalli Lake was under the BDA jurisdiction before it was handed over to the BBMP two weeks ago. Dr Shobha, a prominent member of Jalmitra, says, "On one side of the lake there is just one building close to the lake and which is under construction at present and on the other side, there are many buildings that are very close to the lake. This has happened in the last 5-6 years."
Agreeing that such activities really put the group's morale down, she says, "It does put our spirit down at times as we do not have any authority to take action against such issues. But we are committed to work with the BBMP. We have communicated to the civic agency that such activities are going on. Hopefully, they will take necessary action."
Today, it is one of the most beautiful lakes in the city. The Jalmitra has taken several initiatives to improve the condition of the lake, from deweeding to planting saplings, which are watered daily.
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What has been done on the encroachment near Rachenahalli Lake?
Almost a month ago, I along with my officials visited the spot and identified the violators. They have been served with notices from the KSPCB. After their reply, I will write to the BBMP as well.
What has been done with lakes in other areas?
So far, I have inspected 23 lakes. We have taken into consideration the issues bogging all these lakes and communicated already to respective departments, like the BDA, BWSSB and BBMP.
Do you think the sub-committee under the vision group will solve these issues?
I am hopeful. I will work closely with them. We have a lot of ideas and we will soon implement them one after the other.