Urban poor– lakes support livelihoods – Bengaluru

Urban poor are likely to get a new lease of life.  The lakes will be supporting the livelihoods. The residents are taking initiative by creating a hub on the comprehensive development of lakes.

Need for development – improvement of urban poor :

Natural resources in Bengaluru have been affected by fast growth of industrialization and urbanization. This in-fact has affected to a great extent the livelihoods of thousands of urban poor.

Lakes in the city have been the most prominent victims of such quick industrialization.  Mahadevapura lake is one among them.

Ecosystems have a way of restoring themselves when the flow of toxins is broken.  The MAPSAS wants to beautify the lake and to shield it from pollution.  The samithi wants to support the livelihoods of uuban poor living in close proximity to lakes.

Mahadevapura Parisara Samrakshane Mattu Abhivrudhi Samiti (MAPSAS) :

It is a not for profit registered trust that was formed in 2011 to revive and rejuvenate lakes in the Bellandur ORR/ Sarjapur road/ Hartur road area.

9 years ago a group of ordinary people came together to attempt something.  They wanted to revamp the highly polluted lake in their neighborhood.

Currently MAPSAS has an agreement with the BBMP for the maintenance of lakes and helping  urban poor.

The vision of MAPSAS is to encourage bio-diversity in and around the lake ,engaging the community to play an active role protecting the lake as a thriving ecosystem, social justice thru livelihood creation from lake and accessibility to all.

Livelihood of urban poor :

The main livelihood of urban poor is cattle-grazing.  These are the tradition livelihoods that sustained the life of lakes.  This strengthens the collaborating relationship that helps the urban poor.

The urban poor use the lake for cattle grazing and collect firewood which does not happen in any lakes in the city. 

The lake conservation group also wants to rejuvenate and maintain all the lakes in the chain.  This includes Parappana Agrahara lake, Kudlu Dodda Kere, Kudlu Chikka Kere, Haralur lake, Kasavanahalli Lake, Kaikondarahalli lake and Soulkere. This helps the urban poor living close to the lakes.

The BBMP is supporting the efforts taken by the conservation group.  The Contribution of BBMP is to build the STPs, fencing and desilting of the lakes.

East Bengaluru Lal bagh – green space at Kannamangala

East Bengaluru Lal bagh is taking shape at Kannamangala near Whitefield.  It is also known as a mini Lal bagh. 

East Bengaluru Lal Bagh taking shape

The Karnataka State Horticulture Department is establishing a botanical garden similar to Lal bagh.  

East Bengaluru Lal bagh – a reality :

Whitefield residents need not face the tiring traffic on Bengaluru  roads.  No need to travel over 20  kilometers to catch the fresh air of Lal bagh. The State Horticulture Department is establishing  a botanical garden similar to Lal bagh known as East Bengaluru Lal bagh at Kannamangala.

Inside the park

East Bengaluru Lal bagh will give that part of the city a much-needed fresh lung space. A unit of the State Horticulture Department, the elite seed coconut farm, is spread across at Kannamangala, near Whitefield. This area is being converted into a botanical garden and is to be christened as East Lal bagh. 

Area covered – East Bengaluru Lal Bagh :

It is spread across 152 acres of coconut farm.  It is having 3500 coconut trees in many varieties.  The project was proposed many years back but was not started due to lack of funds.  The cost of the project is estimated to be around Rs.1.5 crore.

East Lal Bagh –  tree varieties :

As the area is already filled with coconut trees, the horticultural department is planning to sow and cultivate different saplings.  The existing coconut palms will be used for mixed cropping, inert-cropping  and multi-tier cropping. 

Varieties of trees at East Bengaluru Lalbagh

The department is planning to sow various flowering plants.  This includes orchids, spices and condiments, beverage crops, timber trees, buffalo grass etc. as base plants. 

Other facilities at East Bengaluru Lal Bagh :

Irrigation work is under process. A walking stretch or trek is under construction.  An amphi-theatre and butterfly garden in also included.  Signage will be put everywhere to help the visitors to the garden. 

The garden needs lot of water as there is severe scarcity of water in the area.  To meet the water needs the department is planning to use treated water from industries around. 

Existing bore-well is been rejuvenated and new bore-wells have been drilled.

This East Bengaluru Lal Bagh is an extension of the existing botanical garden.

Varthur lake – sluice gate project

Varthur lake – froth and debris

Varthur lake sluice gate project gets a new deadline.  According to the BDA the work will be completed by April 2019.

The sluice gate project has already missed many deadlines.  

History – Varthur lake

Varthur Lake is an artificial lake, or tank, located in the Bangalore South taluk of the Bangalore District in Karnataka. This lake has played an important role in maintaining water resources for irrigation since its construction during the Ganga Empire over 1,000 years ago (Karnataka State Gazetteer, 1990).

Varthur lake

Over the centuries, the lake has developed into a complex ecosystem that provides habitat for a variety of plant and animal species.  This includes resident and migratory waterfowl.  The lake also provides the local community with a pleasant micro-climate and considerable pleasing appeal.

Inter-connection and degradation

Varthur lake is part of a system of interconnected tanks and canals that receive practically all the surface run off, waste water and sewage from Bengaluru South.  Urbanization and population expansion in Bengaluru and surrounding towns and villages have taken a brunt on many tanks.  Varthur lake is one among them.

Varthur Lake froth

Pollution has exceeded the ability to integrate contaminants.  This has lead to visible degradation of the quality of water in the lake. 

Sluice gate project – Varthur lake

The BDA has completed the installation of sluice gates in the varthur lake and are working. The 20 metres of the waste weir is yet to be completed.  BDA has set April as a deadline for the work completion.

According to the residents the contractor has not received enough funds from the authority to carryout the work, hence the delay.  The work was halted due to the construction of the new bridge adjacent to the old bridge in varthur.  This demanded diversion of water.

Present scenario

Lake bed is still filled with excess soil and debris. The minor irrigation department had dug it up to set up KC valley pipelines.  The clearance of the debris is yet to take place and restore the lake-bed.