Bengaluru: The much-hyped traditional ‘bhoomi pujan’ for renovation of the 170-year-old RK Puram lake, also known as Vengaiah lake, did little to transform the outlook of one of the oldest waterbodies of the capital city of Karnataka.
Instead, the lake has become a dump-yard of garbage by Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagar Palike (BBMP) and construction waste by contractors notwithstanding the citizen’s protests against it.
The Basavaraj Bommai government had in January last year allotted ₹4-crore for restoration of lack and Mahadevapura MLA Aravind Limbavali, under whose constituency the lake falls, had conducted the ‘bhoomi pujan’ (a ritual according to Hindu tradition to worship the land) amidst much fanfare.
Lake activist Balaji Raghotham said, “Since the trucks do not have a place to dump the waste the contractors dump garbage here. Earlier the dumping was at Gangashetty, Mahadevapura and Hoodi lakes and this stopped only after we created a fracas. This should stop. Encroachment is rampant at the lake. Over 5 acres of the lake have been gobbled up.”
After a decade of protests accompanied with cycle rallies, protests by the residents to highlight the plight of the lake the civic agency BBMP announced that it would restore the lake. The 65 acre lake was initially allotted ₹8 crore for the restoration but the funds were slashed down to ₹4 crore owing to the pandemic relief works.
The protagonists of the movement for conservation of the water body recalled that they used to swim in the lake and down the years due to the entry of sewage and dumping of garbage and construction debris the lake was polluted. The detailed project report (DPR) of the lakes read that wetlands will also be constructed.
Karnataka forest department was the custodian of the lake. In 2021 the lake’s custody was transferred to the BBMP.