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Reminiscences of old Bangalore

The New Indian Express

By Sangeeta Bora - BANGALORE

17th November 2012




Over the years, Bangalore has lost its green cover substantially which has adversely affected the wetland habitat around the city.

Once considered a haven for winged visitors during the winter months, these lakes and tanks used to witness the migration of a huge number of birds from Siberia, Europe and north Asia for feeding and nesting. A few Bangaloreans who have resided in this city for a long time and spent their childhood in the good old days share a few thoughts of Bangalore, its lakes and habitat.

Arathi, a market researcher who was born and brought up in Richmond Town says, “If you go back 20 years, not so many multi-storey buildings existed.

Moreover, underground sewage lines were done properly and hence, lakes were muck free.

Then came this era, when suddenly the city expanded, especially on the outskirts.

The sewage lines which were not well connected and most of the time, it flowed into some or the other lake, thus leading to pollution and fish deaths.

Subsequently, the arrival of migratory birds decreased.

” Lake encroachment has also been attributed as one of the primary reasons for the vanishing species of migratory birds. Arathi adds, “Earlier only the local people had access to lakes for their farming needs. However, when the limits of Bangalore increased, lakes started getting encroached and subsequently, the lake periphery started shrinking and became a dumping ground for debris and plastic bags. This has had a huge impact on the lake habitat.”

Prasanna, a 55-year-old Bangalorean, associated with reviving the Puttenahalli Lake says, “Bangalore was once a transit point for birds. Even the lakes were fortified by bandhs on one side by the erstwhile rulers.

A lot of paddy was also winnowed near the lakes. Most of the area was marshy supporting a large number of birds, frogs and snakes. Never did we see a lake disturbed in any way. It was always as pristine as it should be.

You would be surprised that there was no habit of taking your children to the lakes to watch the arrival of migratory birds because we were so used to seeing them.

” An important aspect of degradation is the lack of connectivity between the lakes. Giving more details, Prasanna added, “There were two openings for all the lakes, the inlet and the outlet. The outlet refers to the side where the lakes flows to join another lake.

For example Yediyur Lake would join Chennamma Lake and flow westwards to meet the Vrishabhavathi river.

Well, now all that is history. Inlet comprised of mostly an area like the woods with wildlife like fox, jackals and mongoose. There was a time when Madiwala lake was a visual treat to one’s eyes.

” Sharada Gopal Krishna, a housewife from Ashrama Road, Yelachenahalli recalls, “We had mango grove next to our house and an empty plot. This attracted lot of sparrows to our garden.

Then many mobile towers were installed in the locality and the mango grove too gave way to a multi-storied complex with the result, the sparrows slowly vanished from our vicinity.”

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