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So Long, And Thanks For All The Birds

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Lakes
The 500 year old Hebbal lake ecosystem spread over 150 acres has not only been an abode of nature enthusiasts, it has also sustained hundreds of people - farmers, fishing communities, cattle herders, washermen, and casual workers. Now it is all set to make way for a floating restaurant and a cafeteria, a children’s park, a handicrafts and gift centre, a waterfall and a statue, and a medical centre on the lake shore.


Image Credits: Sudhira, Vandan Desai, trangam @ Flickr.
Not to mention other "developments" abutting the north end of the lake, including a hotel on an 8 acre land adjoning the lake by the EIH(East India Hotels), a division of the Oberoi Group, that is responsible for the "mantenance" of Hebbal kere.

EIH communiqué: "We took up the project … with the sole intent of preserving an important natural element of the city".

M. Munireddy, Chief Executive Officer of the LDA: It(project) will turn the lake into this “unique” recreational venue. “will at least provide urbanites an avenue for recreation, and keep the place clear of slums”.

Meera Baindur, who has studied the history of Karnataka’s lakes: "People who traditionally depended on the lake will lose access. The lake will serve only one purpose — recreation for those who can pay.”

S. Subramanya, an avid bird watcher: "The Oberoi is building a hotel right in front of the lake, on the other side of the ring road. Hotel guests may gaze upon a pretty water body, but the project will possibly spell the end of birds. The ecosystem consists of four types of vegetation which grow at different water depths, supporting at least 30 species of birds. But after removing the silt, it will be too deep for some birds such as sandpipers and clovers, while boating will disturb the deep water birds such as ducks and cormorants.”

as illayaraja's haunting melody in tamil goes,

svargaane adroonu adu nammora thara iruthha? .... oDD oDi bandu, neeralli jigidu muLugi muLugi meeyakk aguttha?

Source: Divya Gandhi and Swathi Shivanand reporting for the Hindu.

 

Comments

shas3n's picture

Development or commercialization?

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Looks like whoever approved those projects had not an ounce of ecological sense in his brain. Or may be its just another set of land sharks using development as a disguise for commercialization.

The last time I passed hebbal lake, I was really surprised to see it turning into a 'Palace Ground'

As our cities grow, such ecological islands become more and more of a relief on the environment. Just imagine south bangalore without Lalbag or Central Bangalore without Cubbon park. At least I am for once happy about the beurocracy of Horticulture department due to their slowness in introducing 'developments' in these two areas.

Speaking of birds, here is a collection of excellent photographs from an enthusiastic Bangalorean. Top quality stuff as you would appreciate. I guess there are lots of photos there taken at Hebbal too.

-Shastri

-Shastri

tsubba's picture

hey thanks man for that

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hey thanks man for that link, realy enjoyed the pics. the man's camera is bigger than him!! actually what is sobering is that 500 years ago some punyatma, prolly spent considerable personal monies to build that lake that people used as freely as the birds that nested there. now the oberoi will go about strutting their eco sensitivity. yeshtayya hasivu? neer madhya nu kootu tinnbeka?
Visitor's picture

Protest!!!!

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I dont know if this is the right place to ask for help, but someone must do something about this- a protest if it comes down to it. We are students from Mallya Aditi International School. There are some of us who are very concerned and want to try to stop the 'developments.' We pass by the lake everyday on our way to school and we don't want to see a big concrete "recreational" place in the middle of the lake. If there is anything you can do to help, or if you know anyone who might be able to help please let us know. -Indu and Malvika [e-mail ids removed to prevent spam - admin]
shas3n's picture

How Praja can help is..

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Indu/Malavika,

I surely agree that 'someone has to do something' about the issue. We believe that the 'someone' is us. Praja is a place where people like us join our voices and make ourselves heard.

In a way you have come to the right place to voice your concerns about the lake. Praja can be a place where you network with people who have similar views about issues pertaining to our city. That might help you to reach the critical number to reach out to the larger mass and join forces.

To start with, you can register yourselves and start using praja as your online space for canvasing. If you wish, you can start blogging on the issue here and document the progress of your efforts to save the lake. Some of the users here have plans to get in touch with authorities on various issues and use tools like RTI to obtain information that can help us. You can join us on that front if you wish too.

-Shastri

-Shastri

Miakk's picture

Candle light vigil

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Hi there,

We just wanted to inform everyone here that a candle light vigil is being organised

as part of the protest on August 4th, 2007 (this Saturday) at 6:30 p.m. at the lake.

If anyone would like to help, that would be great!

You 'll have to bring your own candles (2 preferably), and rain gear for yourself if you wish.

We hope to see alot of people there!!

 

 

Miakk (Malvika, Indu, Akanksha, Kanika, Karan)

Miakk
shas3n's picture

Wish you the best

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I wish you folks the best.

Your initiative is currently on the front page of this site and will be there till 4th evening. You are also linked at churumuri and that should get you some attention too.

-Shastri

-Shastri

duttu's picture

Take positive steps to embrace development

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Hi Guys, whatever said and done. Investing organisations are also made up of people like us who have good knowledge of enviornment and its effects. Majority of the lake side developments around the globe have actually enhanced and contributed to the preserving the ecology of the lakes and surrounding environment. Hope and see the positive side of things. Thats about it.
shas3n's picture

I am sure that they would

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86 users have liked.

I am sure that they would have people on board who understand the impact. But understandably, when they are making such a huge investment, the ecology takes a second seat and economics decide what is finally done.

Development and destruction need not be synonymous. Take jungle lodges for example. They make a good business with least impact on ecology. I am not anti-development. Far from that in-fact. What I am saying is that this looks more like a land-shark attach with cooperation from greedy officers. I dont see any sense of 'ecological conservation' in what is being planned.

-Shastri

 

-Shastri

Lakshminarayan, N G's picture

Devastation of tranquility at Hebbal Lake

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As it is Bellary Road is congested and we have witnessed nightmares before the Hebbal flyover was built. Now vested interests are trying to repeat what has been done at Nagavara lake and ruin the prestine atmosphere of Hebbal lake. If allowed to do the same, the lake will get polluted, the migratory birds building nests in the island in the centre of lake will never be seen again, it will bring traffic woes and result in total chaos in the vicinity of Hebbal lake and Hebbal flyover. The other side of the lake is already set to become a commercial hub with the KSRTC bus stand coming up and if this lake is allowed to go on a revenue model just to sustain the costs, it is going to result in total destruction of the serenity of our Hebbal lake. I am sure all of you will protest on this development and join the peace march as scheduled on 4th evening at 6.30 pm. Lakshminarayan
tsubba's picture

whoever built the hebbal

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whoever built the hebbal lake had the vision to build it in a valley. infact the entire valley has many lakes. 500 years later will all the science behind us, instead of integrating the valley, all we have done is chop the valley up in parcels.

valleys have to managed in their entirety and not piecemeal. Only a public body can do that. Why are we subsidizing UAS, IISc etc if they cannot contribute to solving real and current problems? Even small volunteer citizen groups have enrolled Profs from these institutions to analyze problems and suggest solutions. Why can’t the govt can’t do it?

Whatever EIH has done so far does not betray any eco sensitivity. They have not listed any of their activities on the lake as non-profit. From what I see, it is an out and out business proposition. Apart from charging entry fees, they will run businesses in what was once a public space. There are no free public areas. In a sense this is a mall/shopping complex in a public space even if peddled under the garb of eco tourism.

 

Visitor's picture

Another point of view

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The protest on the basis of environment is one aspect to this. But it is a more serious breach of the fabric of the nation. We are collecting taxes from honest citizens of India (and Norway - thanks to NORAD) and then spending it on various activities to make a lake into a marketable commodity and then handing it over on a platter to rich industrial houses. This is just great ! Does the country even care for its citizens.
Aakanksha's picture

Once upon a time

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Once upon a time is how I begin, but the story may not conclude with the usual happy ending you would associate with the phrase. I, Aakanksha used to be a student of Vidya Niketan School, and I have been living about 3-4km from the Hebbal Lake. Everyday from 1992, I have passed the Hebbal Lake on my way to school, and besides the amazing view - especially in the winter when the lake and the sky were the same colour because of the mist, there is a noticable temperature drop when you're in the surrounding area. When we used to pass by at that time, we would see the bunds, farmers and cows walking about, and the road itself was built on a bund, hence, narrow. But after the flyover was constructed, the view is entirely different. Serenity had been juxtaposed with noise and pollution; yet, these birds and snakes and other creatures of the lake have adapted to the change and lived on. The idea of another similar change on a greater scale that might drive these creatures away altogether is quite frankly, not easy to digest. I cannot imagine a restaurant floating on the lake, as pretty as that sounds, rather than them beautiful birds. Lets save our Hebbal Lake. -Aakanksha
tina reddy's picture

Oberois ..please lay off the flora and fauna

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Whatever they may claim...I would really like to see a place where cafetarias, amusement centres and general crowd also have an abundance of birds in their natural best. How is it that a huge company like the Oberois cannot devote the project cost to only preservation and protection and not profit? I had a lot of respect for that brand ... but with this development I only see a company who is out to make money, no matter what. The whole world is getting more conscious about eco-friendly issues and here is an example of destruction from people who don't care..the Oberois and of course our government who is supporting the move. If there is any way to stop this PRAJA what is it...We took part in the candle light vigil. But I worry ...those efforts are still candles in front of the fire of greed

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