Sunday, September 8, 2019

One Day, One Story 2019

Dreamy bed time stories are a norm, but a spirited, animated story telling session on a bright, temperate evening, by the lake, with a large gathering of children and adults can be as enjoyable.

One Day, One Story the annual book-reading of Pratham Books that celebrates International Literacy Day (8th September), was conducted at Puttenahalli Lake by PNLIT. It was a fun-filled evening of energetic story-telling by Sonali Sathaye and Vijaya Balasubramaniam, who peppered their narrative with music, improvisation and theatrics. There were two stories told Gappu Can't Dance  written by Menaka Raman and illustrated by Krishna Chandan, and The Weightlifting Princess written by Sowmya Rajendran and illustrated by Debasmita Dasgupta. Both are published by Pratham Books.




Vijaya set the pace rolling with a chugging railway song that set the children in energised motion to some snappy music, followed by an endearing story of adorable little Gappu and her foibles with dance steps. She just couldn’t get it right! Nobody is perfect!





Sonali kept the spirits soaring with an exceptional story of a princess who broke tropes and gender stereotypes with her passion for weight lifting! The young audience enthusiastically participated by flexing their muscles and lifting their friends, followed by more funky, lively music and feisty dancing.



Vijaya and Sonali tapped into the power of story-telling effectively, teaching us about life and ourselves and how humanity, equality, empathy and respect are important in relationships. No wonder they say that hearing a good story brings out the best in us! It was altogether an enjoyable, memorable evening.

- Vijayalakshmi, PNLIT volunteer

Pic credits - Nupur Jain

Friday, August 30, 2019

Celebrate International Literacy Day with PNLIT at the lake

One Day, One Story the annual storytelling campaign of Pratham Books that celebrates International Literacy Day is Double the fun this year! And like the past few years, PNLIT is a part of this program.

This year there are two titles selected for the story telling event. Gappu Can't Dance written by Menaka Raman and illustrated by Krishna Chandan, and The Weightlifting Princess written by Sowmya Rajendran and illustrated by Debasmita Dasgupta.

Join an interactive storytelling session by Sonali Sathaye and Vijaya Balasubramaniam.

Venue - Gazebo, Puttenahalli Lake, JP Nagar 7th Phase, near MLR Convention Centre Brigade Millennium
Date & Time - 7th September (Saturday) 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. Kindly assemble by 3:45 p.m.
Age group - 4 years and above
Entry is FREE
Register the participants by sending the details to pnlit.events@gmail.com. 



About the Storytellers
As an anthropologist, Sonali Sathaye sees theatre everywhere, including, most especially in the way we live our social lives. As a theatre practitioner, she seeks to share her enjoyment of this drama with children - so that they too may delight in the absurdity of the everyday.

Vijaya Balasubramaniam is a passionate dancer and loves to interact with children. Her passion for dance is superseded only by her love for greening this planet.

Looking forward to seeing you at the lake.
Please note that there will be no Family Fun Gardening Day at the lake on 7th September morning.


-Sapana
Event Co-ordinator PNLIT

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Event report - Photowalk at Puttenahalli Lake

Today's Photowalk with Ajay Salanky was very insightful. Eight adults and three kids participated in the session this morning at the lake where Ajay was more than happy to show, share and answer each one at their level.





The lake as usual looked gorgeous with playful birds, trees, insects, flowers, clouds, and the sun playing hide and seek. A perfect day to capture some good shots, which all the participants did indeed! A few of them by Mr. Rajuvan are here.





Here is a feedback from one of the participants, Ms. Seshavalli, outlining how the event was :

"We had an interesting and eye-opening session of photography workshop organized by PNLIT by Ajay Salanky. It was an enthusiastic small group consisting of all age groups. Ajay, who is a graphic designer and a professional photographer took us through the gamut of photography techniques with as simple equipment as mobile to as complicated as multiple lens. He explored with us and interacted with children as well adults on various topics ranging from techniques, composition, subject, white light, exposure,shutter speed, apps to be used, different ways of printing, photo walks we can attend, groups we can join, equipment and settings and gave us a whole new perspective to explore photography as a passion.
 

Thanks to PNLIT for organizing such an interesting session and thanks to Ajay for taking time out to interact with group of amateur photographers and clarifying many of our queries. Happy photo walking to all for a future of wonderful pictures with a new perspective! "

Warmly,
-Sapana
PNLIT Event Co-ordinator

Friday, August 23, 2019

Update on the slum relocation

In our message of 21st August, we had informed you on the action taken by the BWSSB on the sewage issue. This one is to give you the update on the slum rehabilitation front. 

As you are aware, on 7th March 2019, the Hon'ble High Court had disposed of the Writ Petition filed by the slum residents with a directive to the Principal Secretary (Revenue), Deputy Commissioner (Urban) and the Karnataka Slum Development Board that they rehabilitate them "providing minimum facilities and amenities." Closure of WP 
To ensure that the government takes a decision before the deadline of 21st June 2019, we had followed up the matter with the Respondents themselves or with senior officials in these departments. When the deadline passed without any action being taken, we had no alternative but to seek the intervention of the Chief Secretary, Govt. of Karnataka. Mr. Vijaya Bhaskar was kind enough to meet us yesterday, 22nd August in his office.
The Chief Secretary then spoke on the telephone to Mr. Balraj, Technical Director, Slum Board, about their plan to rehabilitate the slum dwellers. He has instructed them to follow the court order and initiate construction of the apartments for the slum dwellers.
We then went to the Slum Board and met Mr. Kumar Easwar, AEE. The KSDB has already drawn the DPR for the apartments. They expect the housing units in three floors (G + 2), 1BHK, size 300 sq. ft to be ready for occupation in another 16 months.
Four years ago, the Slum Board had built temporary sheds at the same site in Bettadasanapura. The slum residents had rejected these as being too small and had filed the Writ Petition in the High Court seeking individual plots of land for each of the 115 petitioners. In Feb. 2017, they had taken possession of the sheds but continued to stay in the lake premises. In July 2018, they razed the sheds to the ground.
We fervently hope that they accept these apartments and not destroy or damage them in any way. Nor, for that matter file another Writ Petition!
With fingers crossed,
PNLIT team  

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Update on the sewage inflow issue at the lake

Exactly a month ago, we had informed you about sewage killing our lake (link) and the illegal hutments coming in the way of the drain pipe replacement. Many of you had shared deep concern about this and offered all help. Indeed, your response to our online petition was heartwarming and the number of signatures in this short span is close to the 4000 mark. Sincere thanks to each one of you. You must be eager to know what happened to these two issues - hence this update. 

There is no progress on the rehabilitation of the slum residents. However, on 31st July, we had brought the sewage inflow to the notice of the NGT committee headed by Justice Santosh Hegde. BWSSB Chairman, Mr. Tushar Girinath, who was present at this meeting committed to get it resolved. He kept his word and a week later, replacement pipes were unloaded at the lake. The BWSSB officers began work after reassuring the slum residents that all care would be taken not to damage any of their structures.

Their progress is slow, impeded not only by the houses so close by but also by the rain and the already weak bund. Hence, they are not able to indicate when the work will be completed and when the sewage will begin to flow into the drain. We are also not certain how they will tackle that section in the middle where the houses are built right next to the walkway with the UGD running below. Nonetheless, we are grateful to the BWSSB Chairman, the Chief Engineer (WWM) and the ward officers. To everyone working on the site - good luck and godspeed!   




(Pics: Ramu, one of our gardeners)

The rain which is helping to dilute the sewage also increased the level and led to the lake overflowing yesterday. 

Overflowing (Pic: Ramu)
Lifting our spirits further and adding a bright dash of colour to the grey sky are the deep red flowers of the Cup and Saucer plant and vibrant yellow of the Gaphimia flowers on the chain link fence. They make us marvel, yet again, on the beauty of Nature. 

Cup and Saucer plant (Pic: Rashmi, our manager)

Gaphimia (Pic: Rashmi, our manager)

Heartfelt thanks to you again for your support. 

Best regards
PNLIT team

Saturday, August 10, 2019

World Photography Day Photowalk 24-Aug-2019 @ 7 A.M.

Celebrate World Photography Day with a Photowalk at Puttenahalli Lake with Ajay Salanky


With the monsoons in, nature is rapidly changing hues, making it an ideal time to explore and capture nature in all its glorious beauty. With its picturesque landscape, freshwater lake and rich biodiversity, Puttenahalli Lake is any photographer's goldmine.

Grab your DSLR, Point and Shoot or the handy mobile phone and join us for a 2 hour photowalk where you will learn the fundamentals of photography. In this photowalk you will learn new and exciting ways to photograph the natural world.

When - 24th Aug 2019 (Saturday), 7 A.M. to 9 A.M.
Where - Puttenahalli Lake, JP Nagar 7th Phase (near South City/Brigade Millennium)
Fee - Rs 200 per person
Age -  10+ years

Register your name with pnlit.events@gmail.com. Pay by cash or Paytm to 9886629769 before the event. The funds collected are for lake maintenance and the artists.

About the Walk Leader
Ajay Salanky, a graphic designer by profession, is also an avid photographer from Bangalore. His passion for photography complements his love for roads, especially the roads less traveled. He particularly enjoys capturing portraits, nature and moments with his daughters. Ajay started his design firm Kalakruti in 1999, which offers a wide array of services like branding, digital marketing, website development and more. He also undertakes architecture/interiors and product photography commercially. His works can also be found on Instagram @anillusion_itis.

Thank you,
- Sapana
PNLIT Event Co-ordinator

Monday, July 29, 2019

Family Fun Gardening Day at the Lake - August 3rd @ 9:30am

Our lake is going through a bad phase presently. Let's show we care for our Puttenahalli Lake by coming together for the gardening session at the lake  on August 3rd 2019.

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 this Saturday, 3rd August between 9.30 a.m. and 11 a.m. for the Family Fun Gardening Saturday.

No registration required. Just come and show that you care!
Warmly,
Sapana
PNLIT Event Co-ordinator

Monday, July 22, 2019

Requiem for our Puttenahalli Lake

It is with the deepest anguish and helplessness that I write this - our Puttenahalli lake is dying. 

Our lake had clear rippling water a few months ago. Surrounded with lush vegetation, it had become a rich ecosystem and home to several species of birds. It was the walkers’ delight, venue for our year round environment awareness programmes for the community. All these may cease to exist.  

24th April 2019

As our long time associates, donors, volunteers, child participants and residents, we owe it to you to explain why and how a lake that was a model for others in the city should suddenly be in such dire straits. Hence this detailed mail:

Simply put, raw sewage from Nataraja Layout is killing our lovely lake. A year or so ago when it was still a trickle we had alerted BWSSB, BBMP and KSPCB. See update on sewage situation May 2019.  On 3rd June 2019, the residents of Nataraja Layout got fed up of the underground drain constantly overflowing onto the road. They opened up the drain to direct the sewage into our lake. Raw sewage began to gush into the wetland. 

16th Jun 2019, lull before the storm, sewage restricted to the wetland

We raised a red alert with the authorities. The Chief Engineer, Waste Water Management, BWSSB informed us that they had completed the procedure to replace the existing drain with a bigger one and issued a work contract. However, this had been stalled because the underground drain from Nataraja Layout  enters the lake premises below the walking track on the south east. The encroachers on the lake bund have built their houses and shops right along the length of the pathway.

As you are already aware, these encroachers had filed a writ petition in the High Court of Karnataka seeking for sites to be allocated to them, and not be disturbed from the lake bund in the meantime. On 7th March 2019, the Hon'ble High Court of Karnataka disposed of the Writ Petition filed by the encroachers with a directive to Principal Secretary (Revenue), Deputy Commissioner (Urban) and the Karnataka Slum Development Board that "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.”  Closure of WP

We had personally handed over a certified copy of the judgement on 22nd March 2019 to the Respondents. Since then, we had followed it up with reminders (letters, emails, whatsapp messages) and personal meetings with them or their senior officers. We apprised them of the sewage situation and urged them to take an early decision.

The Principal Secretary (Revenue) called for a meeting a day before the 12 week time granted by the High Court was to come to an end.  At this meeting on 20th June, it was decided that the Slum Board should take a decision in this regard. 

On 4th July, we met the Commissioner, Karnataka Slum Development Board who said that their role is restricted to recognised slums and the one on our lake bund is not a "Recognised Slum". They are encroachers and that the Karnataka Tank Conservation and Development Authority would be able to get them relocated. He spoke to the Deputy Secretary, KTCDA and instructed his Assistant Engineer to meet the DS (Deputy Secretary) at Vikasa Soudha after 3 p.m. that day. We insisted on accompanying the AE and met the DS who said he would write to the Revenue Dept. to remove the encroachers from the lake bund. The wheel had turned a full circle! 

The  Deputy Secretary, KTCDA  asked the AE to give a letter from the Commissioner, Slum Board stating the facts. He had wanted this letter to be given without delay. However, even after two weeks, the Slum Board is yet to do so.

The court deadline of 21st June has passed. One of the Respondents had told us bluntly, “No one wants to bell the cat.” This is the last nail on the coffin.

The quantum of sewage is such that it is now flowing over the wetland bund into the main lake. Our Artificial Floating Islands have long been rendered useless. The treated water from South City and the fountain we installed this April are fighting a losing battle. Nevertheless, BBMP (Lakes) and BWSSB are trying to find alternate solutions to divert the sewage. Even if they come with any, we fear, it would be too late for our Puttenahalli Lake.

18th Jul 2019, sewage gushing

18th Jul 2019, sewage overflowing from wetland into main lake

The average of samples taken from five different points and the reading in the wetland (where the sewage enters the lake) for January and June 2019 highlight the deterioration in the quality of the water. 

January 2019 
Average: 5.22 mg/lt; 
Wetland: 4.7 mg/lt;

June 2019
Average: 2.9 mg/lt; 
Wetland: 1.7 mg/lt;
Many of you have seen for yourselves the evolution of the lake from a garbage dump to one full of life. As our partner, you know that this transformation had taken us several years to achieve. Its degradation is swift. 

If the sewage inflow is not stopped immediately, Puttenahalli lake may soon become one more lake in Bengaluru killed as much by government apathy as by the pollutants.  

In sorrow, helplessness and anger,

Usha

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