The Kukkarahalli Lake Ulisi Samiti has launched a campaign to stop a Regional Science Center being built on the lake’s catchment area in Mysuru.
The Samiti, a collective of citizens in Mysuru who serve as a watchdog of the lake, keeps an eye out for developmental activities in and around the lake. Members of the collective regularly visit the lake to ensure that no new constructions come up.
The foundation stone for the Regional Science Center was laid in 2015, but due to the efforts of various NGOs in Mysuru, the construction was halted. About a year ago, the collective came together, while the government began developmental works to improve the lake’s facilities with the idea of enhancing tourism.
“We have grown with the lake from the days of our engineering education in Mysuru, when we started visiting the lake. It is home to many birds. We came together a year ago to oppose the initial developmental activities. They (government) wanted to give importance to tourism, but we firmly opposed the idea,” said Guruprasad, part of the Kukkarahalli Lake Ulisi Samithi.
The initial works involved desilting of the lake which was also opposed by the Samiti. “Desilting is usually beneficial to lakes, but the officials were preparing to desilt the shoreline where many birds breed, which was among a number of reasons why we opposed it. It was not the season for desilting either,” said Guruprasad.
The lake has been officially declared as an Important Bird Area (IN197) by Birdlife International, a global collective of conservation organisations. The collective also claimed that the lake was frequented not only by migratory birds but also reptiles and mammals. This included the Golden Jackal, and birds like Eurasian Thick-nee, Spot-billed Pelican, Oriental Darter and Oriental White Ibis which have all been documented in a bird atlas of the lake.
The collective also pointed out that the construction of a Regional Science Center in the lake’s catchment area will lead to an increased footfall and therefore increase in waste around the lake. “We are not opposed to the Regional Science Center, we welcome it, but we are opposed to it being built on the lake’s catchment area,” said Guruprasad.