A frothing lake is just one of the problems that the Bellandur residents are facing. With no streetlights, residents living on 2.5 km Bellandur Tank Bund Road complain of rampant theft and illegal garbage disposal in the lake.
There is speculation that lack of street lights has made it easier for builders to dispose the construction debris into the already cess-filled lake that has made international headlines.
The Tank Bund Road has been pitch-dark every day for close to a year.
“None of the 25 to 30 streetlights installed have been functioning for a year. I've been living in Yemalur for two years. I travel home on a pitch-dark road every day. There are 25-30 streetlights on this stretch, but none of them have worked for one year," said Abhinandan Y, who has lived in Bengaluru for eight years.
Abhinandan told Times of India that once darkness falls, a line of trucks dump waste in and around the water body. Scores of men hanging around the trucks deter residents from questioning them, he said.
Umanand Rai, joint commissioner, Mahadevapura zone told the TOI that he was aware the streetlights were not working. "In three days, the issue will be resolved and we will repair all of them. I have no idea about the dumping of garbage in the lake at night and no complaints have come. I will send an officer from the waste management section to inspect the lakes on Saturday."
However, the civic officials turned a deaf ear to residents’ complaints.
"When I contacted the BBMP engineer a year ago, he told me LED lights were being fixed and the streetlights would work soon. That never happened. When I called him again, he asked me if I could provide the labourers to fix the lights. I was shocked. He said no contractor was willing to do the work," said Abhinandan.
"He has been avoiding my calls. BWSSB and BBMP ignored the complaints I filed online," he said.
The virtual blackout has led to rampant theft in the area.
Vishrut, a resident of Bellandur said, "Using the dark, deserted lake road after 9.30pm is a bad idea. Thefts and mugging are common, so people use the Marathahalli Road instead. That's an extra 3km to reach home."
TOI reported that the residents feel there is a mafia involved. The street lights which were fixed 6 months ago were damaged the very next day.
Another resident, Harsha J, said, "The streetlights are kept off on purpose. A mafia of big builders dumps construction debris every day. It is a big group of men and you cannot mess with them." He said the streetlights were fixed six months ago only to be damaged the next day.
A BBMP engineer in charge of streetlights admitted that the lights had been on the blink for more than a year.
TOI quoted him saying, "We can fix it if the problem is with electricity or wiring. To change the lights, we need to call for tenders. BBMP has called tenders twice but these have been questioned in court. We have to wait till the tenders are called again," he said.
"If garbage is being dumped, engineers in charge of solid waste management will have to look into it,” he added.