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Lakes & Waterbodies

Lakes in Bangalore likely to be declared reserve forests Swathi Shivanand & Divya Gandhi For The Hindu Panache@flickr * Move to prevent encroachments, evict illegal occupants of lake area * 114 lakes proposed for declaration as reserve forests * Lakes notified under PPP may be excluded In a landmark move to protect lakes from encroachments and mismanagement, the Forest Department has proposed that all the 114 lakes within the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike limits be declared “reserve forests” under the Karnataka Forest Act, 1963. This will be for the first time in the State, and perhaps in the country, that lakes and their catchment areas are going to be designated forest areas, say Forest Department officials. Up until now, a few lake catchment areas have been declared reserve forests, but never the water-spread area. Explaining the implications of such a declaration, Forest Department officials told The Hindu that it would give them more powers to prevent encroachments, evict illegal occupants of lake area and even arrest offenders without a warrant. “It accords the Government inviolable rights over the lake area,” said C.S. Vedant, chief executive officer of the Lake Development Authority. Streamlined Declaring lakes as reserve forests would also mean that the multiple ownership, custodial and maintenance rights over the lakes will be streamlined and brought solely under the Forest Department. The lakes are currently owned variously by the Revenue or Minor Irrigation departments; they are under the custody of the Forest Department and maintained by the Lake Development Authority, the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike and the Bangalore Development Authority. Discussions This proposal was discussed on Tuesday at a meeting chaired by Abhijit Dasgupta, Principal Secretary, Environment and Ecology. The proposal, made over a year ago (and stalled for various reasons), recently gained renewed importance in view of the large-scale encroachments of water bodies that have come to light. The 114 lakes that have been proposed for declaration as reserve forests were initially identified in the N. Lakshman Rau Committee Report submitted to the State Government as early as 1987. When the lakes are declared reserve forests, a Forest Settlement Officer will be appointed to assess the rights of the existing stakeholders of lake resources. Once the evaluation of rights is completed, “it will not allow for any new acquisition of rights,” said Mr. Vedant. PPP lakes excluded However, lakes notified for development under the controversial public-private-partnership (PPP) will most likely be excluded from the proposed delineation. These include Hebbal lake, Nagavara lake and Vengaiahanakere lake — which have already been leased to various private parties for “development and maintenance” for a period of 15 years — and 11 others earmarked for lease. Declaring lakes already given on lease to private partners as reserve forests could be a violation of the agreements signed between the Lake Development Authority and private partners. “Accessibility of the private partners could be curtailed if they are declared as reserve forests,” said Mr. Vedant. A senior official of the Forest Department, who did not want to be named, cited this as the primary reason for keeping these lakes from being declared as reserve forests. LDA role not undermined Would this mean a reduced role for the LDA? “Even if the 114 lakes are taken out of our purview, the LDA’s role will not be diminished as we will still monitor the nearly 2,700 lakes in the Bangalore Metropolitan Region,” Mr. Vedant maintained.
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BDA to develop 12 lakes

BDA to develop 12 lakes in city Swathi Shivanand * It will be only for restoration and not ownership * The lakes will be developed using funds fromthe JNNURM * LDA yet to formally hand over the lakes to the BDA In yet another effort to conserve lakes in the city, the State Government has decided to hand over 12 lakes to the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) for their rejuvenation. This is in addition to the 17 lakes that have been given to the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) for similar purposes. The move will not interfere with the proposal to declare lakes as reserve forests and the BDA has been entrusted only with the task of developing the water bodies. “As the ownership of lakes cannot be changed, after their complete restoration, the BDA will hand them back to the departments which have ownership of the lakes for their maintenance,” P.N. Nayak, Chief Engineer, BDA told The Hindu on Tuesday. Lakes in the State are owned by the Revenue, Minor Irrigation or the Forest Departments. While the lakes have yet to be formally handed over to the BDA by the Lake Development Authority (LDA), the BDA has decided to call for tenders from consultants to prepare detailed project reports (DPR) regarding specific development activities to be taken up in each of the lakes. The notification will be issued within this week and about four agencies will be appointed to prepare the DPRs, Mr. Nayak said. Unlike the prevailing financial model for development of lakes, namely the public-private-partnership (PPP) where lakes are leased to private companies for 15 years, these lakes will most likely be developed using funds from the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), said Mr. Nayak. Jurisdiction The lakes to be handed over to the BDA fall under the jurisdiction of the layouts developed by the Authority. They are Jakkur lake, Rachenahalli lake, Venkateshapura lake and Sampigehalli lake in Arkavathy Layout; Kothnur lake in Anjanapura layout; Talaghattapura lake, Konasandra lake and Sompura lake in Banashankari 6th Stage Layout, Mallathahalli lake, Ramsandra lake, Konaghatta lake and Ullalu lake in Vishveshwaraiahnagar layout. Restoration and development of these water bodies will include removal of silt, creating paths for runoff water to enter the lakes, repairing sluice gates, clearing encroachments wherever found and developing walking space along the lakes. Monitoring agency The project reports and any technical or civil work to be undertaken have to be cleared by the Lake Development Authority, the monitoring agency for all lakes in the State. The BDA has been asked to ensure that in the development process, ecological character of the lakes is retained, their catchment area protected and encroachments prevented.
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Another Case in HC

HC adjourns case on privatisation of lakes The proposal of the Lake Development Authority (LDA) to hand over two of the city’s best known water bodies — Lake Hebbal and Lake Agaram — to private entrepreneurs was challenged in the Karnataka High Court on Tuesday. In his petition, Mr. Rudrappa said that while some of the tanks have been encroached, others have been allowed to dry up. Moreover, the recommendations of the N. Lakshman Rau Committee on preserving and protecting the existing water bodies in and around Bangalore had not been followed. Though the Lake Development Authority was constituted by the Government, with the main objective of preserving the lakes, it had recently entered into an agreement with two private companies for maintaining Hebbal and Agaram lakes. Challenging this move, the petitioner said if the lakes were to be handed over to private entrepreneurs, the public would not have access to them. Besides, the agreement entered into by the LDA with the private entrepreneurs is illegal and arbitrary. He said if commercial buildings were to come up in these two lakes, it would cause pollution. Introduction of motor boating and a floating restaurant would cause further damage to the flora and fauna of the lake and lake bed. Mr. Rudrappa said the National Lake Conservation Programme had sanctioned Rs. 51.04 crore for the development of 14 tanks in the State, including Hebbal, Nagawara, Lalbagh, Jaraganahalli, Bellundur and Rangaihnakere in Bangalore. When there is no dearth of funds for the development of water bodies, how could the State have mooted the proposal of privatising the lakes, he asked. He said the Lake Nagawara is now already out of bounds for the public, unless they pay the private entrepreneur, who has been given the right to conduct commercial activity on its tank bed. He urged the court to direct the parties not to dry up the lakes. A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Cyriac Joseph and Justice Ashok B. Hinchigeri asked the Government advocate to verify facts on the issue and place the material before the court. The Bench then adjourned further hearing on the case.
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How Kempegowda Did it

Rainwater Harvesting Star of Mysore Oct,27,2007. Prof. A.V. Narasimha Murthy, former Head, Department of Ancient History & Archaeology, University of Mysore. Rain water harvesting is considered as a modern concept and because of shortage of water, some governments and Municipal Corporations have made it mandatory for the newly built houses to have rain water harvesting devices. That rain water harvesting is not a modern idea but was practiced during the Vijayanagara period almost 450 years ago is not known to many. The researches of Dr. Manjunath, a historian, has graphically brought this to our knowledge. Vijayanagara emperors Krishnadevaraya and Achyutaraya were ruling South India with an iron hand. Kempegowda I (15-13-69) was ruling from Yalahanka as the subordinate of Vijayanagara kingdom. As he became the founder of Bangalore, he is more famous as Bangalore Kempegowda. The Vijayanagara kings were so much impressed by the valour of Kempegowda, they gave him a vast land consisting of Kengeri, Vartur, Jigani, Banavara, Begur, Koravangala and Bangalore, the revenue of which was over thirty thousand gold coins. This made him more powerful and he nurtured new ambitions. He built a huge fort at Bangalore and it is said that his daughter-in-law Lakshamma scarified herself for the success of this fort. He built a temple in her memory with her sculpture in Koravangala. Brainwave Having become powerful he waged a war against the palegar of Sivaganga, near Bangalore. He defeated the palegar and occupied the Sivaganga fort. It has a huge hillock about 1400 mts in height and is picturesque in nature. It is surrounded on all the four sides by small hillocks. They look like Nandi from South, like a snake from the north, like Ganesha from the west and like Sivalinga from the east. It had become famous even during the days of the Hoysalas. Queen Shantaladevi died here after performing religious rites. This place is famous for the cave temple of Siva and Goddess Honnadevi. After conquering Sivaganga, one day Kempegowda was wandering in the area after visiting the various temples located therein. There was torrential rain in the area and naturally Kempegowda took shelter under a huge rock. While standing there he observed rain water gushing out with great speed from the top of the hillocks to the plains and going waste. Being a keen observer he was overwhelmed with grief by the colossal waste of rain water and as a man well versed in agriculture, he wondered, if this precious rain water could be utilised for irrigation. He consulted has Ministers and others who laughed at his mad idea and told him that it was nature's law for the rain water to go waste. Innovation Undaunted by this criticism he swung into action. He made channel-like paths on the hillocks so that rain water could flow down in a particular way. He dug a tank at the top where rain water was easily collected. Then from there it flowed to a tank called Tavarekatte. After filling it, the water was made to flow to another tank called Ennehole, a mile away. From there the water went into another tank Devarakatte, two miles away. Once it was also filled, the water flowed to Hebbur tank. Finally water reached Kunigal tank, one of the biggest tanks in the area. Thus the rain water of the Sivaganga hills flowed into various tanks with the novel idea of Kempegowda. In addition, he also excavated nine huge wells called tirthas. They are Kumbhatirtha, Kanvatirtha, Shan-karatirtha, Chakratirtha, Maudgalatirtha etc. These tirthas also got filled up with rain water and they provided water for the worship in the temples as also to the population. 'Bagina' tradition According to the calculations made by modern experts the area receives an annual rainfall of about 800 mm. By intelligent planning Kempegowda was able to save most of this water for the sue of irrigation. The local people as well as the people of the nearby areas were pleasantly surprised by this arrangement of Kempegowda in saving the rain water. His fame spread. People began calling rain water Kempegowda. In course of time many folk tales and poems came to be composed in praise of Kempegowda. Thus he became a great hero in folk literature. People have not forgotten Kempegowda even after four and a half centuries. When the rain water fills up all the tanks, a fair or jatre is celebrated in the name of Kempegowda. More than that a 'bagina' is offered to Goddess Gangadevi in the name of Kempegowda. This reminds us of the 'bagina' offered by our Chief Ministers to Kaveri every year at KRS. Thus we are continuing the tradition of 'bagina'. Kempegowda beautified Sivaganga by building and repairing a large number of temples of which the cave temple of Siva is most famous. It is worthwhile visiting Sivaganga, a picturesque place with a cluster of sacred hills laced by historical events. Next time when you go to Sivaganga, please do not forget to have a glimpse of the rain water harvesting method deviced by Bangalore Kempegowda and pay homage to this ancient irrigation engineer of Karnataka.
City.Zen's picture


I understand that the ancients had done similar water conservation work in Melukote also, but all that is in ruins now with the present day civil and irrigation engineers not knowing how it was done. City Zen
City Zen
tsubba's picture


i dont think they dont want to do it. atleast if you will let somebody encrach a lake bed you will get something, what will you get if you prevent it, forget building new lakes.
KoKloxKlon's picture

Lakes in Bangalore likely to be declared reserve forests

Dear Tarlesubba,

As per your post 114 lakes proposed for declaration as reserve forests. How would I know if the dried out lake on Vidyaranyapura main road is one among these 114 ?



tsubba's picture


i have no clue sir. i would guess the lake development authority should be able to answer your query, but i have no clue how to contact them . beleive me, i have been looking for info on LDA for months now. anybody who knows anything about this please help.
KoKloxKlon's picture


Thanks for the info 

I found this link on internet. 

Have you tried this(any experience advise)? Seems to be an outdated site. But will contact them and see if they respond.

tsubba's picture

awesome find

thanks a million. and good luck. iirc lda itself is becoming 'outdated'. nevertheless, some interesting reads on that site. and looks like somebody started off in good earnest before they ran out of steam. if not for anything i will keep visiting that site for all the sat maps. so inspite of knowing all this, they presided over this mess? there is something about the lakes that we have been taking them so easy. will come back to bite us in the back. ps: in the name of all that is nice and holy, why did you pick that nik? solpa change maadi, please.

Melukote lakes

The lakes at melukote are still "alive" and "kicking". Ramanuja (1017 - 1137 CE) was instrumental in building the Thondanur Lake.

Since i am rooted from Melukote, i do know quite a bit of history of this village. One can see elaborately planned water works during all centuries from Ramanuja to recent ones by donors.

Sanskriti's picture

Bangalore Lakes

Whats the current status of the proposal to protect lakes as reserved forests, as well as the JnNURM projects for lake conservation?
harika.bhaskara's picture

New Problem near Hebbal Lake

Hebbal Lake looks beautiful with the pelicans making it their new home atleast for some time. The problem is some people have managed to remove a part of the fencing around the lake and have set up temporary shelters from the past 15-20 days. At first there was only one but now there are around 6-8 shelters. The water seems to have lot of weeds now. I dont know what is wrong. Can someone please tell me whom should i complaint to so that those people will be moved to a different place and the fencing will be restored. comment guidelines

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