Another Bangalore lake becomes a garbage dump

Sarakki Lake is one of the bigger stand-alone lakes in Bangalore, and was once a great year-round recharge area for Sarakki, Jaraganahalli, Puttenahalli, Chunchagatta and Kothanur. It is now a cesspool of sewage, and is polluting the air, water and land around it. India Water Portal volunteer Sucheta Ramprakash covered the pathetic plight of Sarakki Lake in Bangalore more than a year ago. Sadly, the situation has not changed much even today.

In a press conference on June 26th 2013, members of the Sarakki Lake Trust spoke to the media in Bangalore about the continuing atrocities and offences being committed at Sarakki Lake. The trust is not alone; other lake groups in Bangalore are also calling on the administration to centralise management of lakes in the city, and take a firm stand against the ongoing encroachments on Bangalore's lakes.

Currently there are too many agencies such as the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagar Palike (BBMP) and the Lake Development Authority (LDA) that are all supposedly in charge of one or more functions related to the management of lakes in Bangalore city. People are never quite sure who to approach and what to do once they find the body that is in charge of their lake.

Through an RTI application, the lake trust found that there were no authenticated survey maps of the lake available with any of the concerned government agencies. They persevered, however, and got the map done through the Survey and Settlements Commissioner of Bangalore Urban District and the tehsildar of Bangalore South. They now have an authenticated map from the government showing the original boundaries of the lake and encroachments. In addition to encroachments, various other atrocities are being committed.

Sewage in Sarakki Lake Source: Sucheta Ramprakash

In order to get uncontaminated water, groundwater in the area is now being extracted at more than 1000 feet. Further, despite repeated letters to the various agencies and the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), appeals in the media, RTI applications and the filing of public interest litigations, debris and garbage is being dumped in Sarakki Lake till today. Encroachments are rampant, with the latest survey map showing a staggering 58 violations in total on the lake bed itself.

Too many government agencies are involved in the (mis)management of Bangalore's lakes. Everyone passes the buck to avoid taking on any responsibility for the problems. Further, the Authority is a hesitant implementor that has shown very little urgency and commitment to restoring Bangalore's lakes.

The details of all the atrocities being committed are in the attached document. Sarakki Lake Trust is calling for the following actions to be taken:

  • The State Government should clearly state its policies on lake rejuvenation. Further, it should provide budgetary support and give firm directions to clear encroachments on lakes immediately.
  • The Authority should complete fencing work, plan and execute restoration work in a timely manner and post security around the clock at lakes under its care.
  • The Board should divert sewage away from lakes and set up local Sewage Treatment Plants near lakes wherever this is not possible.
  • The Lake Development Authority should assume the responsibility of operations and maintenance after the lakes have been restored.

Sarakki Lake Trust is prepared to play the role of a watch dog for its lake. It has put all correspondence with the authorities in the public domain, in the interests of sharing and transparency. If you want to get involved contact Manjunath on manjunath8640@gmail.com / +91 97400 87654.