With the rapid urbanisation not only the Central Business District (CBD) areas in Bengaluru, but the outskirts that once had plush greenery and water bodies free of any impurity have also borne the brunt of unplanned infrastructure planning.

Once pristine water bodies-Muthanallur, Chandapura in Anekal taluk which had drinking water quality, today symbolises government’s neglect. Home to avians these lakes have been playing a pivotal role in the supply of drinking water and fulfilling agricultural needs.

Today the water bodies are left to the mercy of industrial areas at Bommansandra and Jigani.

Indian army veteran turned social activist, Captain Santhosh Kumar Santhosh said,“The sewage from the Chandapura town directly enters into the Chandapura lake. There is no Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) as well. This has contributed to the deterioration of the water bodies as a whole and the and state of these lakes is worsening with time because of large-scale encroachment, the dumping of sewage and the release of toxic industrial effluents along with pesticides. Failure to restore this ecosystems will result in extinction of species or ecosystem types and cause permanent ecological damage.”

He also alleged that no official from the Karnataka State Pollution Control (KSPCB) has ever taken water samples from these lakes to assess their water quality.

Santhosh pointed out that if the government would not take action now the lakes would turn out to be a disaster like Varthur and Bellandur lakes.

“There are heavy metals into the Chandpura lakes and thereby the groundwater also gets contaminated. This groundwater is being consumed by the citizens. It is cancerous. The government agencies have never bothered. The KSPCB has closed its eyes,” he remarked.

Explaining further about the situation, “Ever increasing population near these water bodies are leading to an increase in pollution as the waste is getting thrown into the water bodies without any restriction or control. Toxic effluents are directly getting discharged into lakes due to unrestricted control and easily available access to storm water drains / lake inlet drains , absence of sewage treatment plants and strict regulations on waste/ sewage disposal has further contributed towards worsening of the situation.”

“Hennagara, Muthanallur and Chandapura lakes are part of a system of interconnected lakes and tanks /canals that receive virtually all the surface runoff, wastewater, and sewage in Anekal taluk. Rapid development and population expansion, both within Bangalore urban and in the surrounding areas and villages, have taken a heavy toll on many of the lakes in the area, and these lake areas are no exception . The government must remove encroachments from lakes, catchment areas and storm water drains. Restoration of linkages between water bodies, prevention of pollution of lakes by only letting in treated sewage, implement rainwater harvesting principles to maintain and recharge water bodies,” Santhosh said. .

Operations of several cement, construction, stone material manufacturing, poultry related industries and business establishments in and around these lakes and drainage areas have been posing a serious challenge to the survival of the water bodies.

In January, Santhosh mentioned about the gross violations in the taluk to the chief minister, BS Yediyurappa where he mentioned about the uncontrolled and unauthorised water mining along the lake catchment.

“These borewells are dug in the garb of agriculture purpose and further used for commercial purposes mainly to sell water to industrial units and residential complexes . Reportedly around 500 tankers are operating around these lakes and mining around 50 lakh litres a day. Deforestation and denudation in the catchments areas for housing and urbanisation are leading to extinction of water bodies as a whole,” the letter read.

In January, a resident of Jigani was beaten up by goons of a contractor, Shivaraju, when the former tried to stop him from dumping liquid waste into Hennagara lake.

Written by: Aksheev Thakur

About the Author: Aksheev Thakur has been working as a defence and environment correspondent in Bangalore. An alumni of Xavier Institute of Communications, Mumbai he has worked with major news publications. His stories on the illegal quarrying and Lake encroachments in Bangalore were followed by the major publications.