Monday, November 23, 2015

Can you get us CSR fund to clean our lake?

Dear Friends, 

Even if you do not visit our Puttenahalli lake too often, our updates would tell you of the trials, tribulations and thrills we experience as citizen custodians. We are much more than a mere watchdog body. Slowly but surely we have been taking several steps to improve the quality of the lake and sensitizing the locality about its importance. 

The rain and regular inflow of excess treated water from the South City STP are increasing the level beautifully in our lake but growing profusely along with it is the alligator weed (Alternanthera philoxeroides; honagone soppu). This is a weed that grows lush on land and in water. Just a bit is enough for it to multiply! We need to remove it before it covers and kills the lake. The amount we need for this is between Rs. 10 to 12 lakhs. To ensure that the weed doesn't recur we want to enter into an annual maintenance contract for at least three years with the lake cleaning team. This will cost about Rs. 3 lakhs a year. 

While BBMP is supportive and in fact, they cleaned the lake only in March this year, they do not have the funds. Even if they do, procedural delays will lead to the weed growing some more. We need corporates to pitch in through their CSR. Can you get us CSR fund to clean our lake? 

Indeed, do please share this request with as many of your friends and contacts as you can. Together let's tackle this menace. After working so hard to rejuvenate the lake we don't want to surrender it to an obnoxious invasive weed!

Many thanks
Chairperson, PNLIT
mob. 72597 22996

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

What a shower!

The rain yesterday took all by surprise. Not us though since we are in the habit of looking at the sky for rain bearing clouds. Nevertheless, we hoped and prayed, that the dark clouds would not glide away but show their mercy on the lake. It did and how! 

It is good news and bad news really since the rain is washing away the soil on the slope but this is a far easier problem to solve than how to prevent vandalism!


Pics: Nupur Jain

Monday, November 2, 2015

Evil or Empty Minds?

Last Tuesday, on 27th October, when our gardeners came to work at 9 a.m., they saw four of the Cuddappa stone seats in the Gazebo smashed, 15 out of the 20 heavy Sadarahalli granite seat of benches along the walking track were upturned and one broken into two. See the pix. We are used to vandals breaking the glass windows of the cabin, ripping apart our signages, pulling down branches of trees, even uprooting them but this incident takes it to another level altogether. Who did this in the dark of the night? Evil minds or empty minds? 

We informed BBMP immediately who in turn filed a police complaint. BBMP provides security with Home Guards. On that fateful night, the guard was on leave and no replacement had been provided. As citizen custodians, we have been maintaining the lake to the best of our ability. The lake is for the benefit of the community and we have never stopped anyone from entering the premises, day or night. BBMP may be the owner of the lake but it belongs equally to all of us. We need to come together and protect it from such vicious, meaningless acts. 

To ensure that you who visit the lake are not inconvenienced, we have put back the granite slabs. The broken seats will be replaced as soon as we are able to raise the money. For your part, we urge you to be vigilant. Don't let anyone misuse the lake or damage government property. Remember, it is OUR lake. 

We look forward to your support to maintain and protect Puttenahalli Lake.

PNLIT team

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Cisco volunteers at Puttenahalli Lake

On 8th October 2015, a group of 34 volunteers from Cisco livened up Puttenahalli Lake with their good humored banter, comments and most of all, with their swift and efficient planting of saplings to form a protective hedge along the side of the walking track. This was done to prevent stray dogs from going down the embankment and chasing the birds away. By planting the saplings the Cisco volunteers saved a great deal of labour for us and our gardeners. By sending us the report below, they saved us the trouble of writing one as well! Sincere thanks to Cisco's Jagadeesh Maiya and Sudarshan Ganapathi, who led the volunteers and special thanks to Girisha Shankar for the report. - Usha (Trustee, PNLIT)

Puttenahalli Lake plantation drive (A CSR initiative by CSG-CNX India team)
- Report by Girisha Shankar (with minor edits)

When was the last time that the CNX engineers dug out live bugs? And when was the last time that a white-breasted kingfisher got spotted within city?

It was a sunny afternoon threatened by the evening rains. Thirty four (34) engineers from Cisco (where long-time PNLIT-donor Jagadeesh Maiya works) decided to spend the afternoon planting saplings by the walking track on the Puttenahalli lake shore. We all assembled around 2.30. Ms. Usha Rajagopalan, a trustee from Puttenahalli Neighbourhood Lake Improvement Trust gave us a brief overview of the lake and how it was restored. Her inspiring speech was all that we needed to get into the act. Teams were formed from the assembled group. Equipped with spears, pick-axe and shovels we set out. As one person dug the hole, the second one removed the plastic cover of the sapling, the third planted the sapling, the fourth watered the plant and off to the next one. A few volunteered to transport saplings and water for the small teams that were ahead. It was an example of multiprocessor, with pipelining!!! The recent rains helped by keeping the soil loose and easy to dig. 

As the enthusiasm soared, the sleeping earthworms and beetles rushed out of their safe haven to see what was happening – scaring some of the engineers in the process. But were relocated safely without getting harmed. Some of us were lucky to spot some birds – such as white-breasted kingfisher. With all the saplings that we planted, may be we have increased the possibility of sighting more birds in this park in future.

The weather was helpful – by not raining. As many as 450+ saplings were planted by the team in the session. But soon, most of us, not accustomed to this kind of work, were
all tired. Sudarshan brought home made Puliyogare and Mamtha brought Ginger tea from Cisco campus. They were devoured by one and all in that park. Rejuvenated by the delicious food, digging/planting/watering continued till we planted all 700 saplings.

Our team got a boost when Junior Sudarshan (Sumukha), Junior Jagadeesh(s) (Sriram and Arjun) joined to lend their hands. The evening ended with an enthralling speech from Jagadeesh. With a few blisters in hand, yet with great satisfaction, we dispersed.

This is the beginning of continued volunteering. For ease of communication an internal alias (volunteers-pnlit) is being created with all the 34 volunteers included. The alias is open for more volunteers to register.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Puttenahalli Lake and Navaratri

We are wary of festivals because of the toll they take on water bodies in general and our lake in particular. Navaratri, however, became special for us since 2013 when a South City resident Raji decided to make our Puttenahalli Lake part of her "Golu." Invited for haldi kumkum, we walked in and stopped short. What? Our Lake in the Golu? The lake made of chart paper and little figures was almost an exact replica of Puttenahalli Lake. Raji and her son Aditya had anticipated it full of water and their model had an expanse of blue when in reality the lake bed was more green with weeds. This unusual representation during a festival of dolls caught the eye of the press and Jagran City Plus carried this story.

At Navaratri last year we had another heartwarming surprise when a Brigade Millennium resident, Anjana Shivakumar decided to revere Mother Nature by donating to PNLIT the money she would otherwise have spent on gifts for her haldi kumkum guests. We returned her kind gesture by "gifting" her and her 40 odd friends with an Indian Rosewood (Sheesham) growing tall and stately in the Viewing Deck. You can read this story here. 

(Pic: Nupur Jain)

This year Anjana has once again decided to pay her respects to Nature, the Supreme Mother, through Puttenahalli Lake. The photograph above shows the pride of place Anjana has given the lake and also indeed, how much the Sheesham has grown in this one year. 

Raji's dream of seeing the lake full of water is also slowly and steadily becoming a reality with the inflow of excess treated water from South City Sewage Treatment Plant. 

Our major challenge now is to remove the invasive alligator weed and reveal the water in all its glory for our communities of humans and birds. This is a huge challenge and expensive as well but with the prayers of people like Anjana and Raji directed towards the welfare of the lake, we shall overcome this hurdle. 

Navaratri greetings to all from PNLIT.


Sunday, September 27, 2015

Prakrti Mitra Award for PNLIT

PNLIT is happy and thankful to be honoured with the “Prakrti Mitra Award”, instituted jointly by BNM Institute of Technology, Bangalore and Heritage, a non-profit NGO. 

The award was received on behalf of PNLIT by trustee Nupur Jain, former trustee Prasanna Vynatheya and volunteer Divya Shetty, at a function held at the BNM Institute of Technology campus during the institute’s Srishti Sambhrama Festival on 23rd September 2015. 

A beautiful citation was given to PNLIT:
“In recognition of the exemplary service rendered to the community, and to the Nation, extending itself to protecting, preserving, and promoting the cause of the Environment and Mother Nature in JP Nagar.
… For effectively giving a new lease of life by rejuvenating and maintaining the Puttenahalli Lake through inlet feeding, water treatment and sewerage elimination, thus regulating and restoring the lake, to benefit the citizens of Bengaluru.”

Srishti Sambhrama, or the Earth Mother Festival, is an annual forum that gives an insight into our Natural Heritage. As a part of the festival, the Prakrti Mitra Award is given every year to “people with excellent achievement in the field of conservation of environment and protection of wildlife, who have displayed an outstanding level of motivation, enthusiasm and leadership qualities with a relentless effort beyond their call of duty”. Apart from PNLIT, Mr V. Balasubramanian and Kiran P. Kulkarni were also awardees.

The focus this year was “Sacred Waters” – all water is sacred and the life giver and sustainer of Planet Earth. Held over two days (23rd/24th Sep), the festival included contests, screening of documentaries and inter-active talks with renowned scholars, scientists and environmentalists. 

During the inauguration of Srishti Sambhrama (Pics: Nupur)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

How the Boy got his Drum at Puttenahalli Lake on 12th September

Thank god it didn't rain! We never thought we would say this but it was important that the early evening of Sat. 12th Sept remained nice and dry. "Keshavraju Thippaswamy" wanted a drum above everything else. Would he get it was the question in the minds of the 30 odd children who had gathered in the Gazebo at the Puttenahalli Lake in South Bengaluru. The occasion was a celebration, though a little delayed, of International Literacy Day with a story telling by Geetu and team from the Snehadhara Foundation in an event organized by PNLIT. As part of its One Day One Story campaign, Pratham Books had chosen the engaging tale of "The Boy and his drum" written by Umesh P N and illustrated by Rajiv Eipe.

Together with the Snehadhara team, PNLIT trustees and volunteers hung banners, spread durries on the floor and completed the arrangements for the fun to begin at 4.30 p.m.  But where were the kids? Except for the organizers' children, there were hardly any others! Once Geetu began the narration, however, children from the neighbourhood flocked in, their feet gathering speed when they heard the clapping, singing and loud laughter from the Gazebo. 

With Geetu and her friends becoming the characters in the play, no one in the slowly growing audience could remain aloof. Under the spell of the artists, they became Keshavraju, the cheerful, large hearted boy and his mother who gifts him with a piece of wood instead of the drum that he yearns for. The rapt audience became in turn the grandfather, the potter's wife, the washer man, the bridegroom and among others, even a horse all of whom he meets along the way. He gets his drum at last but the children and their parents didn't want the fun to end. The versatile artists obligingly led the group to sing a couple of songs together.

Literally shouting their thanks to Geetu and her friends and wishing that they get another opportunity soon, the children and their parents left with grins still plastered on their faces. 

For some the excitement of the story was heightened by walking around the lake and spotting birds before it became too dark. Six year old Niranjan resolved that he would come soon to see a bird's nest. If he also gets to hear Snehadhara tell another story, well, that would be the icing on his cake!

Here's hoping that for the next event at the lake, more children will join and that they will reach the venue on time. Punctuality is best taught in childhood!

Best regards

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Time transforms

With tender loving care and good intent, the saplings at Puttenahalli Lake are now trees!

Coconut grove side avenue

Road side avenue

Saturday, September 5, 2015

How much water entered the lake?

It rained heavily in Bangalore last night.

"How much water entered the lake last night?" This is the question we've been asked since morning. Well, this is the first thing we checked ourselves. The answer - take a look at the photos. For a comparison, we've attached an aerial view of the lake taken by Geetha Srikrishnan on 17th August 2015, after the rain the previous night. Her aerial view of the lake taken today is attached as well. Thanks to Geetha and Amod for helping us answer The Question with their photographs.

17th August 2015  (Pic: Geetha Srikrishnan)

5th September 2015 (Pic: Geetha Srikrishnan)

5th September 2015 (Pic: Amod Malviya)

It is said to have been a stormy rainy night when Sri Krishna was born and hence it invariably rains on the eve of Janmashtami. Or perhaps the downpour last night was the precursor to the North East Monsoon, well ... 

Janmashtami greetings to all from us at PNLIT.

And happy Teachers' Day to our teachers.

Best regards

Friday, September 4, 2015

On this sunny day, here's a bird for you!

Good morning all!

A Purple-rumped sunbird peeping out of its nest and the female feeding on nectar of the red Bottlebrush flowers.

Pics: Madhurima Das

To know more about the bird and the plant see the wikipedia links
Purple-rumped sunbird
Callistemon (Bottlebrush).