desert area

EX-VICE CHAIRMAN OF TATA STEEL REVIVES A 36-ACRE WATER BODY NEAR ELECTRONICS CITY

Every day one hears stories of how one more lake in Bengaluru has joined the list of contaminated lakes with alarming levels of domestic, agricultural, construction and biomedical waste.

Lakes, which support biodiversity, are slowly falling prey to pollutants and effluents that flow into them.

While lake rehabilitation efforts from the authorities have been tardy, here is a story of Kyalasanahalli Lake’s rehabilitation by a group of residents, that should warm your hearts and make us all hopeful for the future.

At the heart of this story is 73-year-old, silver-haired B Muthuraman, the ex-Vice Chairman of Tata Steel, whose tireless efforts have now turned the site of a dried-up Kyalasanahalli lake bed, which had become a dumping ground, into a sparkling lake.

Muthuraman had constructed a house in front of this lake in 2009 and moved to Bengaluru in 2014. “I always loved Bengaluru for its lakes and climate. But it was really disheartening that a lake in front of my residence had dried up.”

Ideology

Fortunately, Muthuraman met Anand Malligawad, head of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) at Sansera Foundation, which had announced a Rs 1 crore budget for environmental rehabilitation. It was then that he started planning a lake rehabilitation project with the help of the Foundation, and his neighbours. Although the money was secured, there was much to do. “I visited the Tahsildar’s office in Jigani, regularly, for five months, before I could get the necessary clearances. Then we had to survey the lake. But the government authorities refused to conduct the survey and private consultants demanded about Rs 30 lakh. So we decided to work with the boundary line of the lake as recorded by the Lake Development Authority (LDA) and began the rehabilitation”.

Process 

Malligawad said, “We did the Bhoomi pooja in April 2017 and then realised that this needed a lot of manpower. Both Muthuraman and I visited nearly 400 houses in the area and we were lucky that the residents showed a lot of interest. Once the work started, many young people would turn up at 9 am and work till late in the evening.’’Muthurman said “We started work with three earth movers and six trucks. With the help of this equipment, the residents were able to remove about 3.60 lakh cubic metres of mud from this lake. We created five islands in another 10 days. In June, they diverted two canals of a stormwater drain to a distance of about 1.8 km away from the lake, says Anand. An NGO joined hands to donate saplings and about 1,800 techies working in Electronics City helped to plant 15,000 saplings in just two hours.

 

Turn of Events

The miracle finally happened in September, when, due to the rains, water started collecting in the 36-acre lake bed and the lake which had been dry for nearly two decades slowly came alive,’’ said Anand.Pointing to the centre of the lake, Muthuraman says, “Can you see the centre of this lake? Once it was a playground but now it has 18 feet of water. This is the power of people coming together to achieve a common goal. This was possible only because everyone has affection, memories and gratitude towards the environment that sustains us,” said Muthuraman.

Venkata Ramappa, another resident of Kyalasanahalli said, “It feels good to see the lake revived. A walk around the lake could rid you of the frustration of navigating traffic on Bengaluru’s roads. If you have a lake in the neighbourhood that needs reviving, I would highly recommend you do it.’’

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