After pipeline, erection of high-tension line in Bengaluru’s Varthur Lake sparks anger

The line comes at a time when locals are already agitating against a pipeline project being carried out in the lake bed.
After pipeline, erection of high-tension line in Bengaluru’s Varthur Lake sparks anger
After pipeline, erection of high-tension line in Bengaluru’s Varthur Lake sparks anger
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Farmers and residents of Varthur are protesting against the Minor Irrigation Department for erecting a high-tension line in the lake bed in the area.

The construction of the power line has added to the residents’ fury at a time when they are already agitating against the pipeline work being carried out by the same department in the lake area.

On Tuesday, farmers and residents area confronted workers belonging to Megha Infrastructure, a contractor working with the Minor Irrigation Department. The protesters managed to halt the activities in the lake area for a short while before it resumed again.

“People from Megha Infrastructure asked us why we were objecting to power transmission lines inside Varthur lake. I asked them to show me the approvals they got from Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Authority (KLCDA) and they questioned my authority,” said Jagadish Reddy, a resident.

The KLCDA is in charge of lakes in the state and anyone carrying out work in the lake area has to get clearance from it.

A recent proposal by the government to handover authority on lakes to the Minor Irrigation Department has also angered residents and farmers, who believe that it will hinder the progress they have made so far in rejuvenating the lake.

Mud dumped for a power line on Varthur Lake area || Photograph Courtesy: Whitefield Rising via Twitter

M Ravindrappa, Chief Engineer (Bengaluru), Minor Irrigation Department, rejected allegations that mud was being dumped in the lake area as power lines were being laid. “Actually, we are not depositing any of the material there. We are just laying the tower lines all along the periphery of the tank,” he said.

Farmers and locals, however, rejected the Chief Engineer’s justifications and maintained that the work on the pipeline and the power line have been taken up on the lake area. They also contend that the developmental work is ‘swallowing up’ the lake and will affect the inflow of water from the Bellandur area.

The Minor Irrigation Department is working on the pipeline project to pump treated water to tanks in Kolar. It will ensure that the water from sewage treatment plants of Bangalore Water Supply and Sewage Board are pumped to Narsapura Lake in Kolar.

The citizen struggle to save Varthur Lake comes at a time a number of lakes in the area are mired in contentious developmental activities. Activists have also raised alarm bells about unchecked illegal dumping by Bengaluru civic bodies in the nearby Pattandur Agrahara lake (Survey 54) area and Nallurahalli lake area.  


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