Spread across 12 acres of land at Mallathahalli in Bengaluru is the Srigandadakavalu Lake. Once surrounded by trees, the beautiful lake, just like several others in Bengaluru, fell victim to debris dumping.
After several complaints lodged by residents and activists, local MLA Munirathna has devised a plan. But instead of saving the lake, Munirathna plans to replace it altogether with a playground and a tree park.
Shobha Bhat, an activist working with NGO, Friends of Lakes, says that two months ago, the MLA in a meeting with residents and activists announced that water from the lake would be diverted and a playground would come up in its place.
â€śWho would want to replace a water body with a playground? A few years ago, the debris dumping started in the area and now, of the 12 acres, about five acres has already been encroached upon. In November 2016, Bengaluru Development Minister KJ George had said that the lake would be rejuvenated but now they are planning a tree park. What is that even supposed to mean?â€ť she questioned.
Ramprasad from Friends of Lakes alleged that the inflow of water to the lake has already been cut off and a temple and Ambedkar statue have come up in the lakeâ€™s buffer zone.
â€śEven now debris burning activities go on near the lake. We do not want the water body to be destroyed. Playgrounds can come up in other areas and the MLA has not been clear on what a tree park actually is so there are no details about the project yet,â€ť he added.
MLA Munirathna, however, said that the water diversion project will begin soon and the tenders for the landscaping of the playground and tree park has already been sent for approval.
â€śTenders were called for the project and is pending approval. Once that happens, a detailed project report will be put out. First the debris must be cleared and then only the tree park can come up,â€ť he added. He said that he would discuss the sensibility of the plan further only after the tender is approved.
Unfortunately, the lake near Srigandadakavalu is also one of the 66 lakes that has no custodian and as a result its upkeep has not been taken up by any of the civic agencies. The tender for the so-called tree park is still pending as the BDA and BBMP remain undecided over who should take over the responsibility.