Environmentalist have turned red over the proposed development works in Kukkarahalli Lake. The University of Mysore and Tourism Department has planned development works in the Kukkarahalli Lake, such as widening walking path, raising lake bund, construction of toilets and shelters for walkers, vehicle parking, modification of entrance, Kuvempu Vana, orchidarium, butterfly park and children park. Added to this, desilting of the lake has been taken up. Once the lake is ready, plans are on card to introduce boating and promote tourism on lines of Karanji Lake.
Environmentalists say the proposed development works might adversely affect the ecology of Kukkarahalli Lake and desilting of the lake will cause irreversible damage to the water retention capacity of the lake, and convert it into a dry depression.
Mysore Grahakara Parishat Member Retd Major General SG Vombaktere said: ‘Desilting has to be stopped immediately, as it will damage the lake irreparably. If silts are removed the water will drain away from the lake. There is no guarantee the rains will come. Even though we receive rains, the rain water does not come into the lake properly with rainwater inflow channel are blocked.'
Stating taking decisions unilaterally is not good considering the development of the lake, he said we have to think about damage to the environment and lake. 'The other proposed development works has to be discussed before implementing. We are not against the development works, but development should be in a right way,’ he added.
Environmentalist Vasanthkumar Mysoremath said: ‘Kukkarahallilake receives 10 lakh liters of backwash water form Vani Vilasa water works everyday. Apart from taking ‘unneeded’ development works there is a need of setting up a sewage treatment plant and the waste water has to be handled scientifically and released them into lakes to recharge the water bodies. There is no rains and we are facing severe drought. Desilting will spoil the lake, and its him time to save this heritage lake of Mysuru we should not take some of the proposed development works.'
Another Environmentalist Tanuja said: ‘Already the existing walking path is adequate and no need of rising it further. Hundreds of birds housed in the lake will be disturbed by taking up development works. The lakes goes dry if desilting is done, and flora, fauna will be damaged. There is need of thinking scientifically and protecting the water body. A citizen movement will be taken up in days to come to protect the lake.’
Kukkarahalli Lake Protection Committee Convenor Dr KM Jayaramaiah said that ‘the development works will be taken without causing any damage to the beauty of the lake. Desilting is being done near entrance of East and West Gate (Crawford Hall backside and Senate Bhavan opposite), where the land has gone completely dry already. By desilting the storage capacity of the lake can be increased.’
Anyways, a team of environmentalists have written a letter to DC Randeep and UoM officials seeking immediately to halt the desliting works. They have planned to stage protest in next week, if the ongoing development works are not stopped.
The Lake Development Authority and Tourism Development Corporation had released Rs 3 crore for the development of the lank. The development works were started in 2012 . The last phase of the development works at the cost of Rs 1.40 crore is ongoing in the lake, which is expected to complete by August 2017.
There was a comprehensive conservation plan for the lake, prepared in 1999. The plan was handed over to the then VC of University of Mysore by the then Deputy Commissioner. In May 2002, an MoU was signed between UoM, MGP, Mysore Amateur Naturalists, Center for Appropriate Rural Technology. As per the MoU, any plans will be ‘comprehensive conservation plan’ and will be referred to all for future developments. Whereas, without discussing with any, the works have been taken up in lakes, and its said to be not according to the plan. The UoM VC has to look into this, say concerned citizens.