Thursday, December 2, 2010

Inspection of the lake

Inspection of Puttenahalli Lake was done by Chairman of the Government Land Protection Task Force Mr V. Balasubramaniam, accompanied by Officials from the Deputy/ District Commissoner's Office and BBMP.

More pics here.

Phase 2 of the restoration of the lake is scheduled to begin in the second week of December 2010.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Cleaning up PNLIT vicinity

On 20-Nov-2010, the first step was taken in trying to clean up our immediate surroundings in whatever small way we can.

There is a spot on Puttenahalli Road, in front of BM Mayflower Block entrance which has been used for dumping.

20-Nov-2010 Before clean up

Assisted by the cobbler Chakravarthy who has a shop behind the dump (and who was responsible for some of the dump in the first place) and a few others, the spot was cleaned up this morning. The rubbish was enough to fill a large sack which was willingly carried away by the garbage truck... to Anjanapura dumping ground :-(. Sidewalk stones that were removed by the BBMP and left on a nearby footpath were placed appropriately and excavated mud from nearby was used to fill the crater. The exercise cost nothing but some dedicated time.

20-Nov-2010 After clean up

Chakravarthy has taken the responsibility of ensuring nothing is dumped henceforth. Some policing is required from residents of the area, BM in particular.
29-Nov-2010 Still clean... plants take the place of garbage

Friday, November 26, 2010


Today, when visiting the lake, Usha found that seven young Thespesia saplings (trees now) mostly from the lot that was planted in July and tended with such care, a few of them even budding, have been callously broken by miscreants. Going by the freshness of the leaves, it looks like it must have happened late yesterday evening. Our sweeper informs us that this is the work of children living in the slum on the lake bund.

The challenges now - tending the wounded saplings, dealing with the miscreants, pushing for relocation of the slum...

Pursuing BBMP and others concerned for securing the lake area is in progress.

Trees mauled pics here.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Budding Thespesia

The Thespesia trees planted along the road end of the lake have started budding. Now wait for the yellow flowers...
Pics taken today

Monday, November 15, 2010

Grazing Sheep

Usually it is cows, bullocks and the occasional buffalo that come to graze at the lake. For the last few days sheep are being herded into the lake bund. Like dirty flecks of snow the animals scatter all over the sloping grassy side and eat to their heart's content while their keeper lazes on the walk way. Out of concern that the animals should not eat the sprouting leaves of the saplings, I ask the gardener to drive them away but when it comes to the sheep I hesitate. What with bakrid around the corner, it may be the animals' last meal for all I know. My heart goes out to the "bali ka bakra" and I keep quiet.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Children's Day celebrated

Children's Day was celebrated at South City on Nov 14, 2010. PNLIT set up a stall with a photographic exhibition on the changing face of Puttenahalli Lake and sale of cloth bags.

Thanks to everyone who visited the stall. We are very pleased at getting an opportunity to showcase the story of Puttenahalli Lake. Our brightest moment without doubt was this boy, Raveesh, aged about 13 or 14 coming up and saying he'd like to make a donation of Rs. 50. We told him to take a look around and see what is the cause he was donating for. He pored over the posters and photographs, returned to the counter and donated Rs. 150 to the lake fund! We are deeply touched by his gesture. It was as memorable as seeing the once threatened lake filling with water, however slowly, spotting new species of water birds or seeing the saplings grow tall!

Once again, thanks to all donors and well wishers. A special thanks to Boutique Fashions Pvt. Ltd., Hulimavu for sponsoring the bags on sale.

See more pics here.

Monday, October 25, 2010

BBMP Chief Engineer visits lake for inspection

Mr. Satish (CE BBMP), Mr. Chandrasekhar (EE), contractors and others from the BBMP were at the lake today. Mr. Satish is extremely happy with how the lake is being maintained.

The walking track is being repaired by the contractor.

Fencing towards the BM arch will be done soon. The fence will be put well inside the premises, and at a lower height, to show that it is not the boundary fence. The boundary fence will be done later.

CE Mr Satish, EE Mr Chandrashekar, Sapna

Inlet issues

Boys fishing with net

Big catch! Nile Tilapia is an exotic fish. According to recent research in Kenya, it has been found that this fish feeds on mosquito larvae and helps keep down the incidence of malaria. Don't know how it got into the lake!


Friday, October 8, 2010

Rise in water level at last

With only one inlet out of the five draining into the lake, the water remained more or less at the same level - low. Despairingly low. We were constantly gazing at the sky like so many Amir Khans. When it did rain, the inflow was barely enough to cover the whole of the lake bed. We fielded questions, criticism and jokes with the wits suggesting that we fill the lake with water from tankers. Since yesterday the level has risen and hopefully silenced everyone.

The magic happened thanks to the owner of the coconut grove getting a trench dug across his farm and connecting it to the inlet near the entrance. He may have done it to prevent water logging in his farm but the result? Voila! The inlet near the entrance which had remained obstinately dry all these days turned into a mini waterfall!

A few more days of rain, a couple of more inlets connected to a storm water drain .... greed is bad but not in this case. :-)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Saplings being planted

Over the past ten days, more saplings have been planted. Those saplings unavailable with BBMP were procured by PNLIT from nurseries around Bangalore and Hosur.

Mr. Bhoja Shetty, 88yrs, ex-Conservator of Forests, Tamil Nadu, planted the Peepal in the viewing deck - it is a really tall sapling and we hope its roots catch. SBI Manager Mr Keshavan planted a Golden Laburnum. Also planted were trees on the island - one Cannon Ball, two each of Arjuna and Banni, and some grass. My grandmother who came for the tree planting on Jul 17 but left without being able to plant a tree, celebrated her 90th birthday on Sep 19 and she blessed our efforts at the lake by planting a Kadamba and a Badminton Ball tree in the front (towards BM arch). As the soil is not very good here, gardener Venkat Reddy dug to a good four feet, cleared the waste and mixed a lot of manure with the clean soil. Usha has created a small nursery under the coconut grove and has got planted two medicinal plants Simarumba Gluca. They can be replanted when they reach a decent height.

Jagadish (Forest officer deputed to BBMP) was at the lake yesterday and he is arranging for more saplings to be planted. Tree planting will continue through the week. Do get in touch with PNLIT reps (Usha, Padmini or Arathi) if you would like to plant one and we will arrange for it.

Photos here.

Bladder control

Today's Deccan Herald newspaper carries a photograph of a "labourer" relieving himself in front of the Commonwealth Games banner and bringing greater shame to the country. His economic status has nothing to do with his lack of bladder control. Why do Indian men and boys think that the whole world is one big urinal? How many times have we seen men park their cars, two wheelers and join the pedestrian to turn around and relieve themselves with absolutely no concern for those going behind them? Others might well be inspired to join them while the women will walk quickly past trying to pretend that these men don't exist. This outrageous display is seen quite frequently at our lake site. Men take a leak break near the fencing especially on the busy road leading to Brigade Millennium. What infuriated me even more and prompted me to write this was the recent sight of a morning walker relieving himself on our sprouting saplings! Indeed, I can see only one difference between such men and dogs - the number of legs.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Blessed rain and a tree story!

Yesterday we had ambitiously planted a peepal in the viewing deck, three golden laburnum on the avenue road, a cannon ball, two arjuna and two banni saplings on the island. Even as we watched, the dark clouds vanished and our hearts sank. At night though, it rained and gave us a little hope. Now, after a sunny day falls the blessed, blessed rain! For us, trustees especially, there can't be a more welcome sight! :-)

The cannon ball is the one tree I had always wanted to plant at the lake. Indeed, I wanted to revive the lake just to plant the cannon ball! There's an interesting mythological aspect to the Arjuna Terminalia. Acc. to mythology, Yashoda could not bear Krishna's pranks so she tied him to a stone mortar. Krishna did not let the weight hinder him. He simply dragged it along as he crawled. Going between two Arjuna trees, the mortar got stuck. When Krishna pulled it forward, the trees fell down and the two sons of Kubera, God of wealth, who had been cursed to change into Arjuna trees for their drunken ways were finally released.

A tree without a story is still very precious.

Ganesha Immersion

I cannot understand why people should pray to an idol for several days and then throw it in dirty water! Judging by the debris, this is what some 4 or 5 families had done at Puttenahalli Lake! Yesterday we saw a man walking purposefully towards the water front with a plastic bag in one hand and crash helmet in the other. We explained to him that we had buried a couple of dead dogs in the lake bed, one exactly in the place where he was going to "immerse" the idol. He scooted. Unfortunately, we will not always be present to save the devotees from the sin of abandoning their once beloved idol in dirty water. Forget the Ganesha disintegrating below, we could have saved ourselves the trouble of having to remove the plastic bags and flowers floating on the surface!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Clearing the lake shores of rubbish

Today the two security guards at the lake have been given gloves and sacks so that during their rounds, they can also help in clearing up the bags, packets, bottles and other rubbish that are in the plant beds and other areas around the lake.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

First Birds at Puttenahalli Lake

The Puttenahalli lake is ready and waiting for the rains. Hopefully, by the end of the year the level would have risen. Even the little water it has attracts birds. I spotted lapwings, moor hens, snake birds (darters) and of course the pond herons and a few small ones that almost miss the eye. Fellow Trustee Prasanna will be able to identify them.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Tree planting - round 1 completed

Tree planting on the lake shores happened on 17th July 10:00 am onwards. About 125 saplings were planted by residents of the area, BBMP forest officials Shivanna and Jagadish, Bommanahalli MLA Sathish Reddy, Puttenahallli corporator L. Ramesh, Arekere corporator A.N.Purushotham (Ravi), apart from others.

Photos here.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Open letter from PNLIT

18th June 2010

Dear friends,

We are writing to let you know about a new development in our neighbourhood, and to seek your support and participation in making this a success.

Recently, a few of us from the ‘Save Our Lake’ group of L&T South City and Brigade Millennium formed the Puttenahalli Neighbourhood Lake Improvement Trust (PNLIT), and formally registered it under the Trust Act of the Government of Karnataka - Regn No. BNG(U)-JPN 129/2010-11.

Many of you know that we have been working to restore Puttenahalli Lake, and turn it into a place of conservation and recreation amidst our homes.

See these links:

Kere in Crisis

Residents partner with BBMP to save a lake

Saving up rain for a dry day

Thanks to the BBMP, allied agencies and individuals, this restoration is now showing visible signs of success. In consultation with the BBMP and experts in the field, we have drawn up a list of flowering and fruiting trees that will attract birds to roost and nest. The PNLIT will procure these saplings from BBMP and private nurseries.

Given that PNLIT has been involved in the revival of the Puttenahalli Lake, right from getting it included in BBMP's list of lakes to be restored, we are confident that the management of the area and maintenance of the lake will be entrusted to us.

Our initial focus has been the lake and we would like to expand the range of work that we can do together in our neighbourhood.

Through PNLIT, we plan to engage in four kinds of work, which we believe will benefit a large number of people in the region around the lake.

(a) We will continue our work in environment protection and take up specific initiatives for the conservation of the natural environment in the area. We will do this through specific projects in the natural environment, such as the ongoing lake restoration, where we are looking to 'Create a Habitat for all', ‘Invite the denizens back – the birds, the bees and the rest’, and also through energy and environment projects in the built environment (energy efficient lighting, water conservation, waste management, etc.).

(b) We will make specific interventions to boost the economy of the area, and to promote the small businesses that have located here. We will create partnership programs with local businesses that contribute to the overall health of the area, and in turn we will endeavour to deliver economic value to the businesses themselves. We are talking to a few businesses already to see how to tailor this aspect of our work, and we will keep you informed of our progress.

(c) PNLIT will also be a strong partner to the charitable efforts of individuals and organisations in the area, supporting non-profit work through grants and other means. This, we believe, will make our neighbourhood a more hospitable place for all people.

(d) We will create educational programs that promote social and economic objectives for the neighbourhood, and disseminate this information to the homes and businesses in the area.

By pursuing these objectives together, we can build a showcase neighbourhood initiative, and be a trend-setting region of our city. We invite each of you to contribute to PNLIT generously, and make this dream take shape before our eyes.

We are happy to report that the initial response to PNLIT and its proposed activities has been very encouraging, and we hope that each of you will take the initiative to add to this momentum. Together we can make Puttenahalli Lake and the region around it a model area.

With warm regards,
First Trustees of PNLIT
Usha Rajagopalan (South City B3 502), Arathi Manay (Brigade Millennium A416), Prasanna K. Vynatheya (Brigade Millennium C1407), O.P. Ramaswamy (Brigade Millennium A917)