Sunday, April 29, 2012

SK Srinivas' camera catches @ PL

Photos taken by SK Srinivas, 28th April 2012 at Puttenahalli Lake

Spot billed duck pair

Coot chasing a water snake

Common Moorhen joins the chase

Red wattled Lapwing

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Rainbow at the lake

Sanjay M took this lovely picture at Puttenahalli Lake.
4 to 5 p.m. before evening rain is a heavenly time!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Support PNLIT runners at the TCS 10K Marathon by donating!

PNLIT is one of the Participating NGOs at the TCS 10K Marathon to be held in Bangalore on 27th May 2012. Support our runners by donating to PNLIT. Donations can be made through cheque/ DD/ direct remittance (see poster) or by credit/debit card through the PNLIT page on

Monday, April 23, 2012

Spark The Rise Finale Posters and Flyer

Sincere thanks to Sunil Samuel and the photographers.
Errata, regretted: Photo of Jacana was taken by S Sujesh

PNLIT Greenscraps - Nature Journaling

On 21st April 2012, Puttenahalli Lake hosted "PNLIT Greenscraps" - an introduction to nature journaling to teach children how to observe, sketch and write about what they see in the natural world around them.
Eight children in the 8-13 yrs age-group, from the Puttenahalli Lake neighbourhood, attended the workshop conducted by Ms Sangeetha Kadur and Ms Shilpashree, at the lake gazebo.    

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Cutting of bulrush

Yesterday afternoon at about 3.30 p.m. Usha, from her balcony, saw five strips of long grass drying on the revetment along the lake. 

When Usha reached the lake, she found that two men had cut the bulrushes and were waiting for them to dry! Gardener S'ayya was hauled up and he said that during the Doodle programme that morning someone was cutting the grass. 
Grass cutting has been allowed on the lake sides by PNLIT because the grass does need to be cut and it is good food for the cows and buffaloes of Puttenahalli. Now a blanket order has been given that no one will be permitted to cut any kind of grass. 
Bulrushes at Puttenahalli Lake

Drying bulrushes

Men who cut the bulrushes

Over the last few days several chicks of the Common Swamphen and a young Purple Heron have been spotted among the bulrushes. We surely do not want to disturb their homes. 

If anyone sees anyone on the revetment or cutting the grass or weeds, please get them out and tell them to stay out. They are taking advantage of our sympathy for their cattle.                                                                                     

Spark the Rise Grand Finale awards

Brief background: Spark the Rise is a platform built by Mahindra "for ordinary people to take charge of India's future". Anyone with a plan could submit it to to get volunteers, advice or donations. From August 2011 to March 2012, 1346 projects were posted on the site. For six months, Mahindra awarded monthly grants of Rs 4 lakh each, to 8 outstanding projects. "PNLIT - Nurturing Puttenahalli Lake back to its pristine glory" was one such awardee, and one of the 18 projects in the Grand Finale, where additional grants were at stake.  

20th April 2012 was an eventful day for the Spark the Rise finalists in Mumbai. The winners of the additional grants were to be announced! 

Mahindra had arranged for our accommodation at its company guest houses and of the 18 finalists, 9 of us were put up at the guest house 'Jasmine', in Bandra. We spent the morning getting to know each other, our projects and plans for the future and found that there were good opportunities to collaborate in various ways. Incidentally all the four winners of the finale were from among the nine of us at Jasmine!

It was a long drive from Bandra to the Prince of Wales Museum in Fort and it gave us more time to get to know each other. Though most of us had just met that morning, at the end of the drive some of us felt like we knew each other for years! After lunch, Mahindra had organised short group discussions between the project finalists and influencers in the fields of innovation, entrepreneurship and movements, and talks on how social ventures can increase their impact. This gave us all a chance to exchange visiting cards for future contact. 

During the high tea that followed, we had the opportunity to interact with those present at the venue (including Mahindra employees, Mumbai-based projects of earlier rounds and others who have been involved with the Spark the Rise movement in some way) and it was heart-warming to find several people empathise with PNLIT's work and relate it to their own cities and even rural areas. "Vanishing" open spaces and lakes seems to be prevalent everywhere. A recent news item indicates that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation is trying to reverse this by spending crores of rupees on acquiring lands at market rate, to be used as open spaces.   

The glittering awards function on the lawns of the beautiful Prince of Wales Museum was attended by Mr Anand Mahindra, Mr S.P. Shukla and other senior people from Mahindra. We had the pleasure of being entertained by Vilas Nayak (speed painter) and Aditya Kalyanpur (tabla player), and also Tisca Chopra (actor, Taare Zameen Par fame).  
For me, it was an absolute honour to be representing PNLIT on stage along with the other project finalists. It was disappointing that PNLIT did not figure in the eventual list of 4 winners who were chosen based on public voting (30% weightage) and jury voting (70% weightage). 

1st place (Rs 40 lakhs grant): SAM - Transforming Young Minds
2nd place (Rs 20 lakh grant): Make a Difference
3rd place 
(Rs 20 lakh grant): Education of rural Out of System Children (Divyadeepa)
4th place (Rs 20 lakh grant): AVANI - Caring for the earth 

Though PNLIT did not win additional funding on Spark the Rise, we have definitely got nation-wide visibility over the last few months. We hope that this has helped in building awareness of the importance of water bodies and public open spaces, and the instrumental role of local citizens in safeguarding their environments.

As the Rise team says, this is no end - it is merely one milestone in a long and powerful march towards a better future. Same for PNLIT too!
Trustee, PNLIT

Watch The Grand Finale 2012 Webcast recording here.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Boating survey in Puttenahalli Lake!

Moment of bliss!

View from island

Flourishing Singapore Cherry on the island

Middle of the lake

Three in a boat!

Inspection by Tech Sub - Enzen

Plumbing the depth

For the past few days, for some reason or the other, PNLIT Trustees, PNLIT Mitra and others have been going to the lake as early as 6.30/7 a.m everyday and returning after a few hours. Early this morning, Usha and Sapana were rewarded by getting to sail in a coracle! The coracle was used to facilitate a technical expert from France gauge the depth and test the purity of the water. Not much good news on these fronts. It seems the ideal amount of DO (Dissolved Oxygen) throughout the lake should be 4 ppm (parts per million). However, in our lake it was only 1 ppm at the surface at 7.30 a.m. and 0 or 0.1 at the bottom of the lake. Though it is no consolation, according to Mathew (the French expert) who did a similar study at Ulsoor lake y/day our lake is apparently much better than that one! His advise is not to leave in the water any weed that we pull out from the lake bed. It seems the process of decaying will deplete the oxygen further. He also said that the quantity of oxygen in the deeper areas will increase during the day when the plants release it.
We need to do the following:
1) Increase the level by diverting rain water into the lake
2) Stop inflow of sewage water which seems to be still entering.

PNLIT is taking both these steps. We hope we'll soon succeed in these. A big thanks to Enzen Global for bringing their French collaborators to our lake. Knowing the ailment is the first step towards seeking a cure. 

Seeing the embankment, the coconut trees, climbing to the island were all remarkable experiences. What was surprising was that the birds didn't seem to care that we were coming close to them. They merrily swam around, dived and so on. We really need to do all we can to preserve our lake as a safe habitat for our winged friends. May their numbers increase!

Text: Usha Rajagopalan

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Spark the Rise Grand Finale will be streamed

Tomorrow, 20th April 2012 is the Grand Finale function of Spark the Rise and Arathi is in Mumbai representing PNLIT. 

Thanks to the support of well-wishers who voted for us in the earlier round, we reached this far in the competition, and with it, national visibility that would have been difficult to get in such a short time.

Mahindra will be streaming tomorrow's event. Join the conversation on Twitter by following #SparktheRise and @MahindraRise, watch the Power-Talks live at 3 pm, and the Award Ceremony live at 5:30 pm at, on the Mahindra Facebook page and on your mobile!

The Grand Finale will feature:
  • Discussions with Spark the Rise Finalists: How can grassroots movements fuel change in India? A revolving group discussion between project champions and a group of influencers focused on innovation, entrepreneurship, and movements. Our discussion moderators include: Atul Chitnis from FOSS.IN, Geetika Dayal and Manish Joshi from The Indus Entrepreneurs, Priya Naik from Samhita, Vinod Keni from Aavishkaar, Shrey Goyal from Villgro, and Deval Sanghavi from Dasra. To find out more about the topics, see below. Time: 2pm-3pm
  • Power-talks on Scaling Up—Social Impact and Value Proposition: Solomon Prakash from Ashoka India, and ParvathiMenon from Innovation Alchemy will provide insights on how social ventures can increase their impact. Communities can watch the power-talks live at, on the Mahindra facebook page, and on their mobile. Time: 3pm-4pm
  • Awards Ceremony:  The 4 Grand Finale Winners will be announced! 1 crore in funding will be given to the winning Change-makers. Communities can watch this event live at, on the Mahindra facebook page, and on their mobile! Time: 5:30pm-6:45pm
During the discussion, the following topics will be addressed:
1.      Google is more afraid of competition from two dreamers innovating in their garage than competition from other corporations.  Why is there so little radical innovation like this in India? – Moderated by AtulChitnis from FOSS.IN.
2.      Nine out of ten innovative ideas never see the light of day.  How can we bring more innovative ideas out into the open? – Moderated by Geetika Dayal and Manish Joshi from The Indus Entrepreneurs.
3.      What can non-profits and for-profits learn from each other about how to tackle goals (from key deliverables to marketing to scaling up) effectively? – Moderated by PriyaNaik, from Samhita
4.      What are the five biggest pitfalls for new startups, and how can they be avoided? – Moderated by VinodKeni from Aavishkaar.
5.      What are the most effective ways for establishing partnerships—whether with volunteers, donors, or business partners? – Moderated by ShreyGoyal, from Villgro
6.      How can grassroots movements change India?  And what can we learn from successful examples? – Moderated by DevalSanghavi from Dasra.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Deweeding and Fire Dousing!

Whoa! What a morning we had today at Puttenahalli Lake!

The day 14th April, started quite early with some sixty-five volunteers from across the city coming over to help PNLIT deweed the lake bed. Their enthusiasm was infectious and translated into a great deal of work - digging the weed, piling it into baskets and then taking it to a corner of the lake for composting into manure. They formed neat lines with the one in the fore uprooting the invasive Alternanthera weed with a spade. The roots are formed such that they come out in matted slabs which other volunteers heaped into a basket and passed it down the line to join the steadily rising pile. Working under the blazing sun can tire anyone but our gang worked steadily through their allotted time of one and a half hours before signing off. By then they had cut a huge swathe into the weeds and made a satisfyingly big pile. We saw them off hoping fervently that they would return again and again and again, till we have cleared the lake bed before monsoon takes over.

There was more excitement in store for us. In a vacant plot across the lake someone had flipped a burning cigarette butt into a pile of inflammable garbage thrown indiscriminately by people. Thick black smoke rose into the air and flames leaped up. Arathi called the Fire Brigade and they promptly sent a fire engine over. Led by Mr. Puttaboraiah, Anjanapura station officer, the firemen directed streaming water from their hose pipe and put out the fire. They went down to the blackened mass, raked it and put out the lurking flames. The sight attracted passers-by. Perhaps the person who caused the fire was among them. Would he even realize what he had done?

If the sight of the volunteers clearing the lake bed warmed our hearts, sitting in a fire engine would be a childhood dream come true for anyone! Here's one tale to tell my grandchildren - how I got to sit in a fire engine! It almost made me forget our catastrophic performance in Spark the Rise.

For the record: Project now in place 12 is catching up steadily and is 13 votes behind us. If you'd still like to vote for our lake - send text MHRISE P07 to 54646.


Friday, April 13, 2012

Community Gardening commences

The introductory session to Community Gardening at Puttenahalli Lake
was held on 7th April. The participants were not many but they had
come from across the city including a couple from Richmond Town!
Jyothi Nagaraj from RBI layout explained the concept to the volunteers
and got them to inspect the beds which the PNLIT gardeners had

About 11 patches for gardening have been developed. The red soil with
manure on raised beds have been laid out. Watering for the next few
days should make it ideal to start sowing the seeds.

Jyothi collected the list of volunteers with details such as email and
phone numbers and came up with a schedule of who will be working on
the patches on what day. To start with dantu and palak will be sown in
about 3-4 patches and subsequently this will be extended to the other
patches as well.

The team met again on 12th April, Thursday @ 7 am to sow the seeds and
water the plants. See the pictures taken here.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Doodle with Nature Workshop to be held on 21st April

PNLIT is happy to announce "PNLIT Greenscraps," an introduction to nature journaling which will teach children how to observe, sketch and write about what they see in the natural world around them.
Too often we do not notice that little ladybird sitting on a pale green leaf or the cobweb in an early morning glistening with dew drops. These are the small pleasures that uplift our mood and give meaning to our day. These are invaluable lessons in appreciating natural wonders which stay with us as we grow older.
Ms. Sangeetha Kadur and Ms. Shilpashree who designed the Greenscraps workshops for children will be conducting this introductory session on Sat. 21st April from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m.  

The workshop is open for children between ages 8 and 13 years. No.of children admitted is 12 on a first come basis. 

We are charging a nominal fee of Rs. 200 per participant which will include breakfast. The participants are required to bring their drawing books, clipboard, pencils, eraser. 

Participation fee (non refundable) to be paid at the time of booking a place may be made in cash or by cheque favouring "Puttenahalli Neighbourhood Lake Improvement Trust" and given to one of the following representatives. 

Nupur Jain 
C - 612, Cassia
Brigade Millennium
mob. 9886629769

Usha Rajagopalan
B3, 502
South City
mob. 72597 22996

Alternatively, you are  welcome to send your cheque to our registered office:
B3, 502
South City
Arekere Mico Layout
Off Bannerghatta Road
Bangalore 560 076

                                                   Vote for Puttenahalli Lake!
        Text MHRISE P07 and send to 54646

            Together let's make our Bengaluru a better place!! 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Water level, weeds and de-weeding

Puttenahalli Lake, like other lakes in Bangalore, is a rain-fed lake. During the monsoons, the water level rises while in the hot summers, the level drops - due to seepage into the ground as well as evaporation. This year we find that the water level is more than last year. Having abused this resource over several years and reducing it to the garbage dump that it was, it is going to take some time before the lake is brimming with water again. The ground water needs to come up from below, and the trees need to grow, to reduce evaporation rate.

We do have plans to divert more rain water into the lake during the monsoons (finance for this awaited), which will further help the cause of raising the water level.

Weeds thrive when the water level drops, because they have just enough water to keep them healthy, unlike when there is a lot of water to suffocate them. Now, when the water level is at is lowest, is the best time to get rid of at least some of the overgrowth.

A group of 50 volunteers have signed up to help us remove the weeds growing in the shallow edges of Puttenahalli Lake on Sat. 14th April 2012, for a couple of hours in the morning. Others are welcome to join them, but do let us know at <>.

Despite the drop in water, the lake is home to loads of birds. Several birds have built nests among the weeds in the lake bed, so during the de-weeding we will be ensuring that the nests, and the weeds they depend on remain untouched.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The significance of saving a lake

Today's DNA newspaper carries a story about the vanishing of a lake in Bangalore.

This gives us all an idea of the complexity of any lake-saving effort in Bangalore, and possibly in other parts of India, and the significance of PNLIT's efforts in saving and now nurturing Puttenahalli Lake.  

Read the story - Another lake in Bangalore vanishes 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Friday, April 6, 2012

Namma Bengaluru Awards Night 7th April 2012

PNLIT is one of the 47 shortlisted nominees of the Namma Bengaluru Awards for 2011!

Namma Bengaluru Awards was constituted by Namma Bengaluru Foundation, convened by Rajeev Chandrasekhar, MP, to honour such unsung heroes and institutions for their exemplary work towards society. Nomination were collected under six different categories; groups and organizations, citizens, public officials, public institutions, social entrepreneurs and elected representatives. Out of the shortlisted candidates, a select few will be awarded on 7th April in a glittering ceremony at National College Grounds in Basavanagudi.

Read the full article on Citizen Matters here.

Your vote can help Puttenahalli Lake win funds on Spark the Rise
Voting 2nd April to 15th April 2012
To vote, SMS MHRISE P07 to 54646 or vote online

Community Gardening to commence

Ms Jyothi Nagaraj, a resident of RBI Layout, JP Nagar and a keen gardener, is leading PNLIT's Community Gardening at Puttenahalli Lake. 

Several nearby residents have already expressed their interest in community gardening. All those interested are invited to attend a meeting tomorrow, Sat. 7th April at 4 p.m. at the lake. The intent of the meet is to explain the concept of community garden, divide the volunteers into groups and allocate the patches that they need to work on.

We have obtained good red soil and manure. The gardeners have prepared the ground for you to work on. It's overcast in Bangalore this evening. Let's hope it rains tonight and makes the soil easier to work with in the coming days.

Have fun! May you all have green thumbs!!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Puttenahalli Lake needs your vote on Spark the Rise

Your vote can help Puttenahalli Lake win funds

Puttenahalli Neighbourhood Lake Improvement Trust (PNLIT) is trying to raise money for the recently revived Puttenahalli Lake through the Mahindra Spark the Rise competitive funding. The entry "PNLIT – Nurturing Puttenahalli Lake back to its pristine glory" is to serve as a template for reviving lakes with active public participation.

Your support in the December preliminary round of voting, helped Puttenahalli Lake win a grant of Rs 4 lakh from Spark the Rise. Now a large amount of additional funding is at stake in the Grand Finale of Spark the Rise.

Why vote?

  • Your vote can help win funds for the lake. There are 4 prizes: Rs 40 lakh (1), Rs 20 lakh (3).

When to vote?

  • 2nd April – 15th April 2012

How to vote?

  • To vote by SMS (from India mobile number) - SMS MHRISE P07 to 54646
  • To vote online
    - Visit
    - Click on our project - "PNLIT – Nurturing Puttenahalli Lake back to its pristine glory" to go to our project page
    - Click on the "Vote" button and follow the instructions online


  • Puttenahalli Lake, like the other two lakes in JP Nagar was dying till a few residents campaigned to save it.
  • In 2010, the BBMP began restoring the 13-acre water body that lies between Brigade Millennium and L&T South City.
  • In May 2011, the BBMP handed over the lake to PNLIT for nurturing for 3 years.
  • This Puttenahalli Lake is sometimes confused with the significantly bigger Jarganahalli Lake near Elita Promenade (that is also called Sarakki Lake/ Puttenahalli Lake) and the Yelahanka Puttenahalli Lake.


  • Namma Bengaluru's first citizen caretakers of a lake!
  • Is instrumental in giving a new lease of life to a lake; a home to over 50 species of birds in an around the lake!
  • More information at

Why does PNLIT need funds?

  • PNLIT has been officially handed over Puttenahalli Lake for nurturing, for a period of 3 years (May 2011-2014).
  • While the restoration of the lake was done by the BBMP, PNLIT receives no government funding. The day-to-day expenses of the lake are being met primarily through individual donations.
  • Apart from the routine expenses, PNLIT has some investment requirements and ideas to improve the level and quality of the water of this rain-fed lake, make it a secure bird habitat and an enjoyable Public Open Space, through citizen participation.
  • PNLIT has other eco-initiatives - promotion of cloth bags, waste management, nature walks and other programmes for the improvement of environmental sensitivity.
  • The aim is to make the Puttenahalli Lake Model replicable at other lakes and Public Open Spaces.