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50 give a leg up to save lake

Deepthi MR
DNA
Nov 14, 2011

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DNA 

Nov 14, 2011

50 give a leg up to save lake

A walkathon to save Puttenahalli Lake in JP.Nagar sees highest participation yet

Deepthi MR l Bangalore

Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, and mountains and seas teach us more than we can ever learn from books. This was the lesson participants of a nature walk learned on Sunday.
The event was organised by Puttenahalli Neighbourhood Lake Improvement Trust (PNLIT) to help nature enthusiasts explore the rich flora and fauna at the 13-acre Puttenahalli Lake, located in JP Nagar 7th Phase.
The walk, led by Deepa Mohan, a member of the Bird Watchers Field Club, drew more than 50 people, a record when compared with previous figures.
"In the last two months, this is the third walk we are undertaking and the number of participants has jumped from just a handful to over 50 today. This was possible owing to our persistent approach," said Usha Rajagoplan, writer and trustee of PNLIT.


Issues galore in the days of yore
It all began four years ago when Rajagopalan led three others to save the lake. Their efforts were not in vain and today, the waterbody is home to many species of birds.

"OP Ramaswamy, former vice-president of UB Group, Arathi Manay, a market researcher, Prasanna Vynatheya, a businessman, and I began this project as we wanted to save the lake. Those days, slums had sprung up at one end of the lake, fishing was rampant and there were hardly any birds. The lake was stinking as sewage was flowing into it," she said.

In salvaging the lake, the four-member team got help from BBMP officials. "In the first phase, we made a boundary for the lake. Then we made an inner grill for the lake to stop fishing and illegal entry into the lake. We also planted 220 trees around the lake," said Sateesh, executive engineer, BBMP.

Even though the periphery was getting a facelift, the lake was dying. "So we contacted a company called Enzen. With their help, we transferred 15 litres of water from the dirtiest part of the lake into a tank and did a trial run with nano chemicals. A week later, the water had turned clear and the fish we had let into the tank looked healthy," said Rajapopalan. Enzen officials did a survey of the landscape and are in the process of planning a rainwater harvesting system for the lake. 

Of the 20 lakes that were taken up by the BBMP for development, one was given to the PNLIT. "We are the first citizens group taking care of a lake in the city. We have gardeners and sweepers and also one person for cleaning the lake. The total cost per month to keep the lake clean comes to `20,000 and we are managing it with the donations we get," Rajagopalan said.

In phase three of the lake rejuvenation process, the BBMP plans to remove slums around the water body.
"We have spent ` 1.6 crore on this lake alone. We will relocate the slum housing 110 families, and also add a pipeline along the fencing for watering the plants," Sateesh said.Concerned residents of the areas around the Puttenahalli lake are trying to revive the lake with the help of the BBMP —Deepthi MR

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