Bengaluru: Jaraganahalli, Yelachenahalli lakes fall prey to encroachers

Bengaluru: Both Jaraganahalli and Yelachenahalli lakes, which are adjacent to each other along Kanakapura Road, have been encroached by private parties, say activists and residents. 

Documents accessed by Deccan Chronicle reveal that in September 1995, the then tahsildar, in a series of letters to revenue department officials, admitted that the Jaraganahalli Lake had been encroached by private parties. Over the years, the lake has turned into a garbage dump. 

The documents reveal that over 4 acres of B kharab land on the lakebed has been encroached, though transfer of such land is illegal.

Yelachenahalli Lake too has been encroached, and the residents and activists who are fighting for its revival are still waiting for a proper survey of the water body. 

Early panchayat records show that Yelachenahalli Lake is spread over 6 acres and 32 guntas. But activists said that previous surveys deliberately skipped encroachments. 

"Till date, no proper survey has been done. Next to the lake, several small sheds have been put up and surveyors deliberately skip these encroachments. As a lot of powerful people are involved in the encroachment, the past surveys are faulty," said Mr M.S. Venkatesh, chairperson/Founder Trustee, Yelachenahalli Neighbourhood Lake Improvement Trust. 

Mr Kshitij Urs, executive director, Greenpeace India, said that even at Sarakki Lake, a temple built by BJP members was being managed by the Muzrai Department, but it has now fallen into private hands. 

“Even today, the files related to the lake are missing. In the case of Konakunte Lake too, a private brewery has encroached the water body," he said.   

“The encroacher at Jaraganahalli Lake is brazen enough to claim that he would rent out the land to those selling Ganesha idols. A rajakaluve that connects Sarakki Lake and the storm water drain carries sewage water mixed with construction waste to the water body,” an area resident said. 

Mr V.R. Marathe, who has been fighting for the revival of Yelachenahalli Lake, said that it has been reduced by 40%. “Earlier, garbage used to be dumped at the lake, but once the road was constructed, dumping was shifted to Jaraganahalli Lake,” he said.

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