Activists have once again raised alarm bells about the unchecked illegal dumping by Bengaluru civic bodies in the Pattandur Agrahara lake (Survey 54) area.
The city’s civic bodies' attempts to construct an 80-ft road connecting Varthur Kodi and ITPL in Pattandur Agrahara has invited the ire of local residents and activists as they contend that it passes through the lake bed area.
The Pattandur Agrahara Lake (Survey 54) area is 800 metres east of the current Pattandur Agrahara Lake. “This area used to be the Pattandur Agrahara village until residents shifted to near ITPL around 40 years ago. This is still referred to as the Pattandur Agrahara,” explained Sandeep Anirudhan, a vigilance member of Whitefield Rising.
The area is home to several birds and also houses the Muneshwara temple, believed to be hundreds of years old.
Sandeep alleged that both the Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (BMRCL) and Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) have contributed to the dumping on the lake bed area in the past week, flouting National Green Tribunal (NGT) rules.
The BMRCL stopped the dumping of debris in the Pattandur Agrahara lake area after taking note of photographs posted by the Save Pattandur Agrahara lake campaign on Twitter. It took action against an errant sub-contractor who dumped debris in the lake area. The debris, however, is yet to be removed.
Thanks for the alert, our engineer has been able to identify the rouge lorries and actions has been take to heavily penalise them. The Engineer has also directed the ITD & lorry owners to have the debris removed and have the same shifted to the designated dumping ground.— BMRCL (@cpronammametro) February 21, 2018
The BBMP meanwhile maintains that the road is being constructed outside of the lake bed area. Ramakrishna Reddy of the BBMP refuted the allegations. “The road is being constructed next to the lake bed and does not come in the lake bed itself. The BDA has marked and the government has given a tender for the road construction. We have asked a contractor to fill mud and level the place and we have given the permission ourselves. This is happening in private land given to us,” Reddy claimed.
He also added that activists campaigning against the road were misguided.
Shriram, a supplier, confirmed to TNM that he had received a BBMP work order asking him to fill the area with mud and level it for the construction of a road.
While the mud has been dumped, the area is yet to be leveled as Shriram is waiting for a final clearance to go ahead with the leveling work.
The revised masterplan 2015 had proposed a new link road from Varthur Kodi Main Road to ITPL Main Road to cut across Whitefield. The proposed road has already resulted in the chopping of 140 trees and will also cut through an orphanage, the Pattandur Agrahara Lake, two schools – St Joseph’s Convent School and Holy Cross School – and a few private properties.
Srinivas, another member of Whitefield Rising who is keeping close tabs on the lake, said that the lake boundary was yet to be defined in spite of several protests held demanding it. “The dumping began around four months ago and we have held protests demanding that the local tahsildar ensure that the lake area be fenced and developed properly,” he said.
Since September 2017, when illegal dumping was first observed in the lake and its periphery, activists have been protesting against civic authorities for ad hoc dumping of debris and illegal felling of trees in the lake area over the contentious 80-feet road project near the lake.
In October 2017, the BBMP had axed over 100 trees in the lake’s buffer zone overnight. Angry residents had formed a human chain and protested against the BBMP, demanding that the road works be stopped.
In November 2017, the BBMP dumped truckloads of debris into the lake and flattened the lake bed. Several concerned residents had clicked photographs of the activity and submitted it to the local BBMP ward office.
“The BBMP told us that the BDA was the concerned authority to speak to. On November 27, 2017, the BDA passed an order telling the BBMP to stop dumping debris in the lake,” Sandeep added.
Residents allege that the works began once again in January this year, when 40 more trees were razed by the BBMP.
“Usually, the works were carried out at night, but now they are doing it in broad daylight. We had visited the tahsildar’s office and requested him (Tejas Kumar) to conduct the survey and demarcate the lake land, but he kept evading us,” Santosh, another citizen activist said.