Submitted by alvin on Thu, 2016-06-16 14:30 Bengaluru: Protecting Bengaluru’s disappearing lakes has never been high on government’s priorities list in spite of several high profile statements and interventions. Puttenahalli Lake in Yelahanka is a good example of the gulf between rhetoric and reality. Last year, CM Siddaramiah had said that Puttenahalli lake would be declared as Puttenahalli Lake Birds Conservation Reserve as it attracts around 120 species of birds. But nothing has happened till now. As expected, civic bodies such as the BWSSB, Karnataka State Pollution Control Board, BBMP, and the Forest Department have been passing the buck while the lake has been ravaged by unchecked flow of sewage, garbage dumping and illegal chopping of trees. According to Section 36-Aof the Wildlife Protection Act 1972, forest area around the lake has to be conserved as it is of ecological value and important for the birds’ survival. “There are about 30 types of migratory birds and 100 types of residential birds. But sewage inflow has spoiled the environment and it is a threat to these birds,” said Puttaswamy, President Citizen Forum, Yelahanka New Town. The issue had been brought to the notice to Upa Lokayukta, on whose orders a conservation committee was formed to speed up work. But nothing has been done so far, say residents. “We have been staying here for more than 15 years now. This place was full of birds. Now the lake water has turned black, is full of weeds and there is a bad smell,” said Vanitha Achar, a resident of Vinayaka Layout. Another issue relates to garbage disposal. “Huge trucks carrying debris and garbage come here and dump the garbage in the premises of the lake,” said Professor Sangunni from IISc, another resident. Frustrated over the government’s apathy, residents are planning to protest. “We are planning to mobilise more people and protest before chief minister who is due to visit Yelahanka New Town's Power Station,” said Padmanabha A. Recently, Deepika Bajpai, Deputy Forest Officer, Yelahanka Range, had issued notice to the BWSSB to stop sewage inflow. “Due to the sewage flow, the lake has been covered with weeds. Local farmers feed their cows with these weeds which is dangerous,” she said. When asked about the deadline for rejuvenating the lake, Deepika said, “It will happen soon.” Ramakrishna SM, BWSSB Chief Engineer, Waste-Water Management, said the sewage flowing into the lake came from Attur layout and others. “Sewage diversion work towards Jakkur sewage treatment plant is going on. Once it is done the lake will be free from sewage,” he said.