Sunday, July 14, 2019

Kudos to a former PNLIT Volunteer Teacher

Some of you may be aware of the Classes at the lake programme (read about it here). We had to discontinue it for several reasons but along with our former students some of our volunteer teachers too have also gone from strength to strength. One of them is Mr. C.S. Narayanan from Brigade Millennium. The Sunday Express today carried his inspiring story - To Tuition Uncle With Love.

The article, however, does not mention that quite often Mr. Narayanan pays for the children's school fees or books himself. 

If you would like to help him and his students with monetary support, please mail him <csniyer77@aol.com> or call him on 080 - 41132657. 

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Family Fun Gardening Day at the Lake , July 6th - Event Report

Our new lake manager Rashmi had made all the arrangements and welcomed the volunteers to Family Gardening Fun day on 6th July. 

Darsh, a teenager who is doing Social Action Program for his school involved himself in every gardening activity for more than an hour. Along with another volunteer Dinesh, Darsh pruned the hedges and removed the dead leaves. They then transferred all the leaves to the composting bins. Overall a very satisfying day at the lake.








See you all at our next Family Gardening Fun day on the first Saturday of next month i.e 3rd August.

Cheers,
-Vijaylakshmi

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

9 today


Thanks to all those who've taken this journey with PNLIT.
We're 9 today.

(Google never forgets!)

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Family Fun Gardening Day at the Lake - June 1st @ 9:30am

"Bringing the community together" gardening session at the lake is back after the summer break!

As you would know by now, the first Saturday of every month is open to you to exercise your green thumb; to introduce your children to gardening; to work together with your family; to destress; to discover the small pleasures of plants; to be one with nature, and more.  

Make the most of your neighbourhood lake. Join us on this Saturday, 1st June between 9.30 a.m. and 11 a.m. for the Family Fun Gardening Saturday.

No registration required. Just come and enjoy nature!

Friday, May 24, 2019

Update on the Sewage Situation at Puttenahalli lake

For whatever reason, the sewage did not come in today since morning! Perhaps because it didn't rain? Lull before the storm? How much worse can it get? The fish are struggling and large numbers have been coming to the surface of the water because the dissolved oxygen is depleting quickly. A few have already died. 
Fish in distress, 23-May-2019

Polluted water, 23-May-2019

This continues to be very worrying situation. Our heart goes out to the BBMP workers who are clearing the grills of the silt traps and the muck in the wetland. 

BBMP worker clearing the filth

The Economic Times carried an article on 23 May 2019 "Bengaluru residents angry, officials clueless as sewage kills Puttenahalli Lake."  Read the article here.

Photos by: Mr. G.R. Ravi (a regular walker at the lake), Sangita Agrawal (PNLIT trustee) and Ramu (gardener). 

Monday, May 20, 2019

Sewage is killing our lake

Ever since March 2018 sewage has been entering our Puttenahalli Puttakere from two places, one from the underground drain in Nataraja layout and the other from an unknown source in the southern side. It had led to a massive fish kill (read about it here). We immediately alerted the BWSSB and informed the Fisheries Dept and the BBMP (Lakes).  

Then and subsequently, the BWSSB local office would get a jetting machine to remove the blockage in the drain at Nataraja layout but were unable to trace the source of the sewage from the south east side. We escalated the issue and, in June 2018, met the three top officials at the BWSSB - the Chairman, Engineer-in-Chief and the Chief Engineer, Waste Water Management (all of them have been CCed).  Nevertheless, sewage continued to flow into the wetland and seeped into the main body of the lake.  

With the water steadily turning green, we installed a fountain last month. When the body is pumped with poison, how will a paracetamol help? 

Wetland, 8-Apr-2019

Rain water and green water, May 2019

In desperation, we met the Chairman, Karnataka State Pollution Control Board, Mr. Jairam who fixed a meeting on 8th May with officials from the Jayanagar ward office of BWSSB. We were invited to attend as well. No one from BWSSB turned up for this meeting!

The rain over the past fortnight was heavy enough to break the wall of one of the silt traps in the wetland. Now all the plastic, paper and other solid waste come in as well. BBMP cannot rebuild the wall till the rain ceases. With the level increasing in the wetland and threatening to overflow, they tried to help by introducing Bokashi balls. We don't know how well this will work but with the sewage coming in as well, even a magic potion may well be useless. 

Our lake is now full of sewage. All our work over the past nine years to nurture the lake have been completely undone - thanks to BWSSB. 

Waste weir, 12-May-2019

Wetland, 14-May-2019

We were this close to simply giving it all up but last week the BBMP (Lakes) sent workers to clean the wetland. Also, Mr. Mahendra from the regional office of KSPCB  brought Mr. Hemanth Kumar of BWSSB for a site inspection. Mr. Hemanth said they would lay a bigger drain pipe but that it would take time. How long? Who knows! Till then we have no alternative but to wait and watch the lake suffer, along with it all the fish and terrapins, not to mention the birds and other aquatic life forms.

We fervently hope the BWSSB will take serious note of the plight of our Puttakere and act swiftly at least now. 

Monday, April 22, 2019

Celebrating Earth Day with a Fountain at Puttenahalli Lake (Puttakere)

Earth Day greetings. We began our celebration two days earlier with the inauguration of a fountain at our Puttenahalli Lake (Puttakere). However, till the jets of water whooshed into the air on the evening of 20th April, we were on tenterhooks. 

If the truth be told, we had been on the edge from November 2018, ever since we applied for enhanced power. With PNLIT trustees Mr. Ramaswamy and Nupur Jain following up with Bescom and the electrical contractor, we finally managed to get the additional power. We had already placed the order for the fountain with Alpha Power, Coimbatore.  

The vendor, Mr. Rajaniprakash, his men and the disassembled fountain reached late at night on 13th April. Our roller coaster ride continued till the evening of Wednesday 17th when the fountain was anchored and switched on. The central jet zoomed to a height of over 20 feet, the shorter ones to about 8 feet. What a gorgeous sight it was! 

NOW we could celebrate Earth Day 2019 and felicitate Mr. B. V. Satish, Chief Engineer, BBMP (Lakes) on his retirement. 

Two days and a morning is not a lot of time but by 2.30 p.m. on Saturday every single thing in our check list was ticked. That was when our Manager, Susheela called to say there had been no power since morning!  The local Bescom office said that maintenance work was going on but power would be restored shortly. 

It did but our heebie-jeebies remained. What if the guests assemble and there's no power? The sky was darkening. What if it rained? Mr. Satish, one of the most punctual man ever, was held up in an important meeting.  Dr. Vaman Acharya, ex-Chairman, KSPCB who had been instrumental in facilitating feeding the lake with treated water called to say that he would like to attend if the event had not been postponed due to the rain. 

Meanwhile, the gazebo was getting slowly filled with residents. Many others stood outside talking. Mr. Satish strode in briskly past 5 o'clock. When he heard Dr. Acharya was on his way, he went for a quick walk around the lake. By the time he returned, a light drizzle had started. We decided to proceed with the inauguration. A  quick welcome and an equally brief address by Mr. Satish and we trooped to the Viewing Deck. 


Fountain on 20th Apr 2019

Our gardeners had spent the morning clearing the place with extra care and had decorated the switch panel with marigold flowers. Mr. Satish pushed the switch up and whoosh went the fountain making the gathering break into loud applause. Just then Dr. Acharya came as well - to our immense relief. 

He was kind enough to share his thoughts with us, of the importance of the community to assist the government to protect lakes to safeguard our own future. This struck a chord not only with us but also with Anand Yadwad from Avalahalli Lake and Chaitanya and Subramanya from Talaghattapura Lake who had come to cheer us on our milestone - Fountain at Puttenahalli Puttakere. 

This installation would not have been possible without fund support from our partner, Axis Bank. Our heartfelt thanks to Ms. Vandana Srikanta, Vice President and Branch Head and her colleague Ms. Megha Bhargava, Operations Head, Axis Bank, Jayanagar Branch for attending the event at such short notice. We also take this opportunity to thank Mr. Vinod Jain, electrical cable supplier. 

Trustees and staff with Dr Acharya and Mr Satish

Our deepest gratitude to Mr. Satish, Dr. Acharya, fellow "lakers," everyone who had attended the event and the many more who had sent their best wishes. 

We have many plans to improve the lake and its surroundings. We look forward to your continued support. 

Best regards
Usha

Youtube Link (taken by Pranshu Jain): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbuXPf8od78   

Monday, March 25, 2019

Closure Of the Writ Petitions filed by the encroachers at Puttenahalli Lake

In February 2015, 115 (one hundred and fifteen) slum dwellers living on the Puttenahalli Lake Bund area filed writ petitions before the Hon'ble High Court of Karnataka, [Writ Petition Nos. 5073 - 5187 / 2015 (GM-RES),] against the authorities and statutory bodies. In this petition they made the following parties as Respondents: 
Respondent No.1 : Principal Secretary, Revenue Department, Government of Karnataka
Respondent No.2 : Deputy Commissioner, Bengaluru Urban District
Respondent No.3 : Secretary, Karnataka Slum Development Board  
Respondent No.4 : CEO, Lake Development Authority 
Respondent No.5 :  CEO, Zilla Panchayat, Bengaluru 
Respondent No. 6:  Tahsildar, Bengaluru South Taluk. 

For the slum dwellers' relocation and rehabilitation, the Revenue Department had identified land in Bettadasanapura, (about 8 kms from the lake) in Sy.No.20, measuring 2 acres 24 guntas and handed over the same to the Karnataka Slum Development Board

After obtaining written consent from each of the slum dwellers, BBMP agreed to fund the construction of the temporary sheds 10 x 12 feet in size. The Karnataka Slum Development Board agreed to build 1-BHK flats subsequently in the same site. 

However, the slum dwellers not only rejected the alternate land allotted for their relocation, but in July 2018,  during the pendency of the writ petitions in the High Court, they also demolished the temporary sheds (fully constructed and ready for occupancy) - causing a loss of more than Rs.70 lakhs of public money. 

The case of the Slum Dwellers was essentially that they had submitted a representation dated 23.09.2014, to the Government seeking for allotment of sites measuring 20 ft. x 30 ft, to the individual families living on the lake bund area, instead of the sheds constructed by the Karnataka Slum Development Board which they said were too small for their residential purposes. 

In Feb 2019, the Karnataka Slum Development Board filed a contempt petition against the slum dwellers in the same writ petitions, for their illegal acts of demolishing the temporary sheds. 

In March 2016, upon being persuaded, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, (BBMP) impleaded themselves as Respondent No.7 and came on record to oppose the writ petitions. Aggrieved by the long pendency of the writ petitions and lack of tangible progress, we, PNLIT, approached the Hon'ble High Court to seek for speedy adjudication. 

It is with mixed feelings of relief and trepidation that we share the news that on March 7, 2019, the Hon’ble High Court disposed of the Writ Petition Nos. 5073 – 5187 of 2015 (GM- RES)

During the final hearing of the writ petitions, the Karnataka Slum Development Board categorically submitted to the Court that the request of slum dwellers for 20 ft. x 30 ft. sites could not be considered by them under any law. Even the Court recognized the far reaching nature of such a request by persons who are illegally squatting on the lake bund area and who are rejecting the temporary housing which had been made available for their relocation. 

The following observation was made by the Hon'ble High Court in its order dated 07.03.2019 :

"Respondent Nos.1 to 3 shall take a decision on the representations of the petitioners in accordance with law in an expedite manner in any event, not later than twelve weeks from the date of receipt of the certified copy of the order. The petitioners shall not be evicted from the property in question till the decision is taken by respondent Nos.1 to 3.”  

Accordingly, we have submitted a certified copy of the order dated 07.03.2019 to Respondent No.2 (Deputy Commissioner, Bengaluru Urban District). Copies of the same letter and relevant documents have been given to Respondent No.1 (Principal Secretary, Revenue Department, Government of Karnataka), and to Respondent No.3 (Karnataka Slum Development Board). A copy of the order has also been given to Respondent No.7, Commissioner, BBMP.

In this connection, on 22nd March 2019, we met Mr. Parashuram Shinnalkar, Special Deputy Commissioner, and Mr. B. Sadashiva Prabhu, Deputy Secretary, Revenue Department, Govt. of Karnataka. 

On the one hand, we are relieved that after four years the Writ Petition finally has found closure. However, on the ground nothing will change till the three Respondents discuss the matter and resolve it in the best way they deem fit. We have been assured that they will take this issue for consideration in the last week of April 2019 - in view of their added responsibilities with the upcoming elections. Whether the request of the slum dwellers is considered favourably by the Government or not, they have earned protection to stay in the same area for the next twelve weeks, and till they are rehabilitated with basic amenities to an alternate location. 

We sincerely hope that this time the slum dwellers will have the prudence to accept the decision of the Government - whatever that may be - and cooperate with their relocation from the lake bund area, so that the Puttenahalli Lake can be made secure and restored to the fullest extent. 

With best regards,
Usha Rajagopalan
Chairperson, PNLIT

Friday, March 22, 2019

World Water Day 2019

The advent of another hot summer brings into focus, yet again, the absolute need for the conservation and preservation of one of the most precious of our resources, fresh water, whose scarcity has reached daunting levels. Basic water preservation techniques have become the need of the hour.  The life-threatening depletion, pollution and misuse of our fresh water resources do not augur well for future generations.
World Water Day, 22 March, has gone beyond the aura of symbolism to that of alarm and ominous warning.  Cities around the world have seen citizens' movements to counter the abuse of streams and lakes which are the life blood of fragile ecosystems, and to protect and preserve them. 
Our beautiful Puttenahalli lake is an example of how we, as a community, can transform a once dying lake into a sparkling life-sustaining one with a rich diversity of flora and fauna.  Our heartfelt thanks to all our well wishers, partners, donors and supporters.  

You will be happy to know that our Floating Island concept is the theme of this year's World Water Day celebration at Madiwala Lake. Do attend this event. If you are not able to, then go to our lake.  
There is no better way to celebrate World Water Day than to spend some time at our pretty neighbourhood lake, a lung-space from the manic, time-bound, work driven city life and connect to where we first came from - water.
Save water! 
Best regards
PNLIT team