Save Puttenahalli Lake- A thriving lake is being killed by Sewage and Encroachment
This petition had 3,920 supporters
Puttenahalli Lake in south Bengaluru is a people’s lake nurtured by the PNLIT ( http://www.puttenahallilake.in/ ) a citizens’ group, with active support from the local community, CSR grants and the civic administration, the BBMP.
Together and over the years, we transformed the lake into a rich ecosystem with lush vegetation and clear rippling water. In a city of dying and extinct lakes, our Puttenahalli Lake is a rarity. It is an avian habitat, walkers’ delight and venue for our year round environment awareness programmes for the community. All these may cease to exist if immediate action is not taken to stop sewage inflow. This can be done only by relocating the encroachers from the embankment. These two interconnected problems are killing our lake.
For the past two years, an underground drain in the neighbouring Nataraja Layout would frequently get blocked and sewage would overflow on to the road. We had alerted the Bengaluru Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) about this and followed it up till finally BWSSB agreed to replace the existing underground drain with a bigger one. However, they are unable to execute the work because the drainage pipeline from Nataraja Layout enters the lake premises below the walking track. The encroachers have built their houses and shops along the pathway.
Infuriated by the delay in resolving the issue, the residents in Nataraja Layout opened up the drain to direct the sewage into our lake on 3rd June 2019.
Squatters on the lake embankment
Since 2009, we have been trying to get the encroachers rehabilitated elsewhere. Five years later, the Revenue department allocated land in Bettadasanapura eight kms away and the Slum Board built temporary sheds for them in 2014. Gist of what happened over the next five years is given below:
- 6 Feb. 2015: The 115 encroachers file a writ petition in the High Court seeking 20 x 30 ft sites for each and that they not be disturbed from their current location till then. WP 5073-5187/2015 (GM – RES)
- 24 Feb. 2017: They take possession of their temporary sheds but continue to live in the lake embankment.
- July 2018: The encroachers wilfully demolish 114 out of 118 sheds causing heavy loss to public exchequer.
- 7 March 2019: The Karnataka High Court dismisses the WP asking Respondents 1, 2 and 3 - the Principal Secretary (Revenue), Deputy Commissioner (Urban) and the Karnataka Slum Development Board – to take appropriate action. Deadline: 21st June 2019. No action taken.
The Two Issues of sewage and encroachment are thus tied to each other and need to be resolved immediately if the lake is to survive.
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