Saturday, March 14, 2020

Update on Puttenahalli Lake revival

Happy to report that both BBMP and BWSSB are hard at work at our Puttenahalli Lake. BBMP has pumped out most of the water and are now getting trenches dug to drain the pools. Following this, they will begin removing some of the silt and muck from the basin, desilt the wetland, strengthen the bund, etc., etc. 

Trenches being made in lake bed to drain water

BWSSB has begun laying pipes for the underground drain. It is slow work since they are drilling deep into and along the ground taking care to ensure that the adjoining houses in the slum are not disturbed. Once they are done, sewage will be diverted into the new drain. At last!
Underground drain pipes being laid

Pipe welding

We are keeping our fingers crossed for BWSSB and BBMP to  work smoothly. If they are able to follow their schedule, the lake will be ready for a new beginning with the monsoon. 

We are excited about starting afresh too. For, in these ten years, it was not only the lake that evolved but our understanding of its ecosystem as well. With the lessons we have learned, we look forward to carry out new plans to make the lake and the surroundings even more attractive to birds, butterflies, insects, tortoise, turtles and what have you.

As we embark on this new journey, here's an opportunity to join us and share the wonderful experience of bringing the lake back to life once again. What can be greater than serving and connecting with nature? That too, in your neighbourhood? 

We need volunteers and funds. Please contribute generously to our ongoing donation drive. You can make your payment by Cheque (favouring 'PNLIT") or by direct remittance. For guidelines, see http://www.puttenahallilake.in/how-to-donate  Donations to PNLIT are eligible for 80G IT exemption.   

Best regards,
PNLIT Team


Thursday, March 5, 2020

Puttenahalli Lake Update

It's customary to give the good news first but I will reserve them for the end. The bad news is that response to our fund drive is extremely disappointing. In three weeks our collection is only Rs. 75,000 as against a target of Rs. Ten Lakhs! We fervently hope that your generosity will resurface as the financial year comes to an end. Our optimism and drive have seen us overcome one challenge after another. Will we see through this? The answer lies with you, folks! Our Puttenahalli lake is in your hands. 

Now for the good news, ever so many but here are the top ones!

1) The most important one is that BWSSB has diverted the sewage at Aradhana Layout. It no longer enters the lake!  

New chamber

2) After a see saw of "Will the slum dwellers allow BWSSB to replace the underground pipeline or will they stay the work?" BWSSB has got their act together it seems. They began by digging a chamber in the pathway yesterday and are in the process of concretizing it, as even as I write this. Were they spurred by a report in the Hindu dated 2nd March 2020? 


3) Two plants flowered for the first time and sparked off a debate between Nupur and me about which one is better! Her favourite is the Orange trumpet vine (Pyrostegia venusta) and mine is the Mickey Mouse Plant (Ochna serrulata). You can decide which of the two you prefer but psst.... mine got its name because the yellow petals fall off leaving the bright red sepals and fleshy black fruit to make it look just like, well, Mickey Mouse! 

Orange Trumpet flower

Mickey Mouse flower with red sepals

Mickey Mouse flower with yellow petals

4) Talk of ganging up to face a common enemy! Two days ago, we heard commotion in the lake basin and saw two Purple swamphens highly agitated and flapping their wings. Our gardeners said a snake must be going to the nest for the birds' eggs. We couldn't see it because the weeds were tall but other birds rushed to the spot and joined the parent birds to drive the snake away. The allies included another swamphen, three Eurasian coots, two Bronze-winged Jacanas, a Red-wattled lapwing and a White breasted waterhen. The Jacanas and the waterhen are particularly shy birds who scoot from the sight of people and here they were rallying around! They collectively brought the snake into the open. What a very long watersnake it was! And yet, it was no match for the birds. They sent it packing beyond the island and then the parent birds went back to their nest while their friends dispersed. It was truly a magnificent show of strength in numbers. 

Do you want to know how you can rally around to help our lake and its denizens? Click on  http://www.puttenahallilake.in/how-to-donate

Regards
Usha 

Monday, February 17, 2020

Moving forward together

Come June, PNLIT will be ten years old, completing a decade of the nurturing of Puttenahalli Lake! Time has really flown by. 

Residents of the neighbourhood, donors, volunteers, CSR funders - it is with your help that we have been able to maintain the lake and carry out environmental projects and awareness-related activities for ten long years. Your support has made our Puttakere truly a People's Lake and a model for many others in the city. A recent episode feature on Republic TV has catapulted PNLIT to the national level. Our heartfelt thanks to everyone who has been a part of our journey.
  
We work closely with the government and, as you would be aware, BBMP and BWSSB are in the process of preventing sewage from entering the lake once and for all. We are also actively pursuing slum rehabilitation. We are close to achieving our goals with transforming the lake. What will be required in the future is regular maintenance by PNLIT and vigilance from the neighbourhood to protect the lake. 

We're almost at the end of FY 2019-20 and we, at PNLIT, have started planning for the new financial year. Our estimated annual expenses for FY 2020-21 are Rs 12.55 lakhs, which we look to raise through individual donations and corporate grants/CSR. 


A grant of Rs. 2,45,000 from Wipro will bring down the target to a little over Rs. 10 lakhs.   

This is an appeal to everyone to donate to PNLIT for our neighbourhood lake - in your individual capacity and/or through your organisation. Do refer us to your CSR department. You will find a dedicated team of lake conservationists in us!

For those seeking income tax exemption under section 80G, this might be your last chance, given the new proposed income tax rules.

In addition to the annual expenses, we are also looking to build up the Corpus Fund, so that in future, the interest earned would meet the annual maintenance expenses to a large extent. Donations to the Corpus Fund will be much appreciated.

There are many ways in which you can make a donation – cheque, cash (up to Rs 2000) and direct transfer. You may also donate through a payment gateway as a last option – avoidable as there are 2% - 3% extra charges involved, and we'd much prefer to directly utilize every rupee you donate. Please visit our web page for details http://www.puttenahallilake.in/how-to-donate.

Together let us nurture and protect our Puttenahalli Puttakere and give our children an increasingly rare gift - a thriving lake.   

“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.” —Ryunosuke Satoro 

Best regards,
The PNLIT Team

Monday, February 3, 2020

Report on the Feb 2020 Family Fun Gardening Day

8-year old Adarsh was at the lake with his grandmother, much before the start time of 9:30 a.m. for the family gardening fun!

Our main task was to prune the overgrown hedge in the viewing deck, then clear the leaves to add to the compost bin. Adarsh was up for all of it and along with his grandmother he set to task. After having done more than a quarter of the deck, we all felt a bit tired and started to rake the leaves to rest our palms. Pruning and clearing the whole deck today looked impossible.



When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it - goes a saying. And the universe did conspire and out of nowhere came an army soldier to help us!

He was doing his run around the lake, saw a young kid and two ladies going chop chop and getting tired. He politely asked if he can also join in and went about pruning half the deck and more around the area. Seeing him we were also filled with new energy and finished all our tasks.


Turned out the soldier is on leave from his posting in J&K, he is in Bangalore to help his parents settle and has been visiting our lake for his daily runs as he has to keep fit. We had to ask him to stop as it was over 11 a.m.

Salute to the soldier, and to Adarsh and his grandmom, and their helping spirit. May their tribe increase.

Warmly,
Sapana

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Lake story on Republic TV today

In the program 'Har Ek Boond', Republic TV will be telecasting the Puttenahalli Lake story today at 4.30 p.m. 
Do watch.

Here is a trailer to the program.  




Friday, January 10, 2020

A very rare visitor indeed!

Last Monday, when our gardeners came to the lake expecting a day of routine work, little did they know what awaited them. On the revetment near the southern side, was a small tortoise that they had never seen before in our lake. Excitedly, they sent us the pictures of the tortoise with a distinctive golden brown star-like pattern on the hard shell. We’d never seen one like it either but there was no mistaking it - it was the Indian star tortoise! Wasn’t it an endangered species? We quickly looked up online and also contacted our in-house wildlife experts, Vishnupriya and J.N. Prasad.

The Indian star tortoise (Geochelone elegans), considered to be one of the world’s most beautiful tortoises with its distinctive carapace, is found in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Extensive poaching for the exotic pet trade has reduced their number and threatened their existence.

To keep the tortoise safe, we took it out from the revetment and put it in an open basket. Vishnupriya and J.N. Prasad came by to see our exotic find and to guide us on how to take care of it. They also told us to contact Mr. Ganesh, RFO, Bannerghatta National Park or Dr. Roopa Satish at the Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center.  We contacted both of them and arranged to send the reptile over. Meanwhile, we got some greens, carrot and cauliflower for it to eat and placed the basket in our office room for the night. The next morning we shifted our “guest” into a cardboard carton and kept it outside to bask in the sun. We watched quietly as it popped its head out, walked toward the feed and started eating.



Two days later, on Wednesday morning, we took it to the RFO’s office and handed it over to them safely. Our job was done. Today morning, we received this update from Mr. Ganesh:
The star tortoise is under preliminary  medical  care at Bannerghatta and will be released to wild after a week of observation for possible infection due to human contact. Thanks for a saving a precious endangered wildlife. It makes a huge difference in protecting the species on this planet.
Thank you
Regards 
Ganesh RFO
Bannerghatta National Park


We still wonder how it came to the lake.  Did someone develop cold feet and drop it off for fear of being caught? Whatever the reason, we are glad that we were able to rescue and rehabilitate an endangered Indian star tortoise.

For more pictures, please click on the link below: 

Best regards
Divya

Photos by: Ramu (PNLIT Gardener),  Rashmi (Manager) and Usha Rajagopalan 

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Event report - Family Fun Gardening Day at the Lake on 4th Jan 2020

One could not have asked for a better start to the new year at the lake. 

Four young boys - Aryan, Arjun, Aadarsh and Rohan with their respective parents came with smiles and enthusiasm which only a child can bring to our world. There were four children and five adults who enjoyed the sun lit lake while doing their bit in helping the lake.








The children loved pruning the hedges, then raking the leaves and wheeling it away in a wheel barrow. They shared their pruning scissors, the wheel barrow and rakes with each other (the pictures say it all!). The excitement in finding a red powder puff flower, a green color spider and a snail shell was contagious. At the end, each couldn't stop asking for more gardening time and made their parents promise to bring them again to the next Family fun gardening day.

We hope to see them and more children, and you in our next session.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Lake Census 2020

Please participate in the Lake Census 2020. 
See the mail below from Dr. S. Subramanya, renowned birder and conservationist. 

Dear Friends,
This is a great opportunity for all of us to showcase the status of our wetlands and waterbirds in Bangalore. Since the High Court has evinced keen interest in knowing the status of our waterbirds and their wetlands in light of the 1989 Midwinter Waterfowl Census, I feel it is our collective responsibility to rise to the occasion to survey our wetlands for waterbirds. The results of the census that we showcase in comparison to the 1989 survey will have unending impact, where the judiciary can see how our waterbird status have changed due to mindless development of their habitats. The decisions that the High Court may take will have far-reaching effects to influence the way one needs to treat our waterbodies as waterbird habitats, not just in Bangalore, but across the country. 

Let us show to everyone across the country that we care for our birds that we love to watch and their habitats in our city. 

Please go, Register and lend your time and support for counting birds this January. 
I am committed to this 100%. Rain or shine, I will go.

Subbu.

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Tuesday, December 31, 2019

As We Ring Out The Old And Ring In The New

2019. A roller coaster year. A year that we will not be able to forget easily. 

In March the Hon’ble High Court disposed of the writ petition filed by the encroachers living on our lake bund. The responsibility of rehabilitating them fell on the three respondents - Principal Secretary (Revenue), the Deputy Commissioner (Urban) and the Karnataka State Slum Development Board. The matter is yet to be resolved.
In April we installed our Fountain of Joy,  our “retirement gift” to Mr. B.V. Satish Chief Engineer, BBMP (Lakes) for his constant support and encouragement not only to PNLIT but to all fellow lake groups in the city. We were delighted that Dr. Vaman Acharya, ex-chairman KSPCB, graced the occasion. It was thanks to both of them that we are able to feed the lake with excess treated water from South City apartment complex.
In June we suffered a massive setback when residents in the adjoining layout opened the underground drain and let in the raw sewage directly into the lake. We had to go all out and seek help from everyone –BWSSB, BBMP, KSPCB, NGT Committee. BWSSB began replacing the underground drain but had to give up because a few illegal houses on the lake bund came in the way. The onus of making alternate arrangement shifted to BBMP. The uncertainty ended on 30 December when BBMP got their contractor to begin work. What a wonderful way to end the year - on a note of hope! 
2019. We had to do far more  to protect the lake this year than in the past. Our routine work did not cease. Here’s a quick recap of our highlights of 2019.
Flora and Fauna   On 27 February we put up two bird nesting boxes thanks to Mr. Uday Kumar, a birder and conservationist. We initiated a project on 5 May to create two bird hotspots with a grant from the Duleep Mathai Nature Conservation Trust, Anand, Gujarat. Dr. Kaustubh Rau led a nature walk on 20 January and Mr. Ajay Salanky conducted a nature photography workshop on 24 August. In association with Axis Bank, we printed a Puttenahalli Lake flora and fauna chart. In spite of the poor condition of the lake,  Dr. S. Subramanya, the well known ornithologist, spotted as many as 23 species of birds on 24 October. This boosted our morale!
Talks and presentations On 11 January 2019,  PNLIT Chairperson, Usha Rajagopalan, shared the Puttenahalli Lake experience at a workshop organised by Sensing Local together with Biome, Varthur Rising and Whitefield Rising to discuss and design the wetland for Varthur lake. On 22 March she gave a talk at an event held at Madivala Lake to celebrate World Water Day. On 16 July, she made a presentation at the Bangalore International Centre as a part of BBMP's submission for World Design City 2020, through the design firm Icarus.
Nupur Jain was a panellist at the Talking Earth's Future Cities Conference on 17 February. The topic of discussion was "Are Lake reviving efforts fruitful”?  PNLIT volunteer Vishnupriya Hathwar gave a presentation “Community Participation in Conservation – Case Study on the revival of Puttenahalli Lake at the National Seminar on Climate Change organized by EMPRI on 21 February.
Community based activities On 13 February, PNLIT held its first Citizen Science Programme in collaboration with Earth Watch Institute India and IISc.  which began with a nature walk led by Mr. J N Prasad.  Dr. Sonali Sathaye conducted a theatre workshop for children on 24 February with games, observation techniques, body movements and vocal exercises. We celebrated International literacy Day on 7 September with Ms. Vijaya Balasubramaniam and Dr. Sonali Sathaye conducting a lively story telling session. PNLIT printed bookmarks and desk top calendars with photographs taken by women photographers in the neighbourhood.
Welcoming Visitors The number of birds may be dropped because of the sewage but a large number of school and college students from the city and abroad visited our lake round the year. They included children from the Puttenahalli Government School and from Snehadhara Foundation; students from Dayanand Sagar Engineering College, Ramaiah College of Architecture, Griffith University, Australia, and from the Technical University, Braunschweig, Germany. 
On 26 April and 10 May, members of the Earthwatch Institute India, IISc and HSBC visited the lake as part of their sustainability Training Programme.  On 27 November, Jennifer Wightman, research scientist and artist from New York, USA, took soil samples from our lake and from several others to create an art work for an exhibition at the Bangalore International Centre.
Corporate Volunteers Volunteers from Cisco and VMware have come regularly to the lake to rake, prune, and manure, plant, and trim, de-weed and clean, to add to the aesthetics and cleanliness of the lake premises. 
Fun Family Gardening Day    The first Saturday of the month continues to be reserved for children and adults from the neighbourhood to exercise their green thumb at the lake.
Upgrading infrastructure With the number of visitors increasing, PNLIT installed 11 new benches along the walkway on 6 March.
A few hours are left for the new year to begin. We look forward to BBMP and BWSSB protecting our lake from pollutants. We look forward to birds returning and nesting. We look forward to you and our neighbourhood rallying to nurture the lake. We look forward to completing a decade in June 2020 as citizen custodians of Puttenahalli Puttakere!  
With heartfelt thanks for your support and endorsement in our journey.
We wish you and your family a very Happy New Year!
PNLIT Team
Compiled by Ms. Vijayalakshmi Kutty, Editor, "Ripples" the PNLIT Newsletter. 

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Family Fun Gardening Day at the Lake - 7th Dec 2019

Bringing the community together gardening session at the lake is back!

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 de-stress; to discover the small pleasures of plants; to be one with nature, and more.

Make the most of your neighbourhood lake. Join us on Saturday, 7th Dec between 9.30 a.m. and 11 a.m. for the Family Fun Gardening Saturday.

No registration required. Just come and enjoy the outdoors!

Cheers,
Sapana
PNLIT Event Co-ordinator