Jun 22: Protesting against privatization of Bangalore lakes
Join us in forming a Human Chain around the Agara Lake (Kormangala) on 22nd June (Sunday) at 11.00 am. This is part of the campaign, which concerned individuals, organizations, communities have undertaken to protest and stop the on-going privatisation of lakes. Your presence will make a difference to the movement of saving public commons, and especially the conservation of tanks, which we owe to our future generations.
Bring along your kids, neighbors and friends. Pls pass this on to as many people as you can.
Regards Deepak Arya
Brief Note on the issue The Lake Development Authority plans to 'develop' lakes in Bangalore, by handing it over to private parties. Already, four prime water bodies - Agara Lake, Hebbal Lake, Vengaiah Kere and Nagawara Lakes have been leased out to commerical entities for a period of 15 years.
There is deep concern over the ongoing provatisation as such development involves introduction of restaurants, kiosks, boating, water sports, jetty etc, as it has already been seen in the case of the Nagawara Lake by Lumbini Gardens Pvt Ltd, and by M/s Par C Systems in the case of Vengaih Kere. We are deeply distressed by this development as we find this unethical and counter to the objective of environment conservation and maintenance of lakes as our public commons. The kind of activities that have been allowed distance visitors from nature, and feed into a consumerist culture that we could well do without.
Incidentally, these lakes were comprehensively de-silted, restored and rehabilitated by grants from the Norwegian Government under the Indo-Norwegian Project and the National Lake Conservation Programme of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests. As a result these lakes are fantastic water bodies and excellent habitats for birds - both migrating and local. In addition they support a wide diversity of flora and fauna, and support the livelihoods of tens of fishing families.
Over time, these lakes have been intensively used by all local residents and the general public for various purposes. While Agara is being used for walking, jogging and recreational purposes, Hebbal Lake has been used for customary and traditional occupations like fishing, grazing and irrigation. In addition, birdwatchers have been visiting these wetland habitats regularly documenting the excellent diversity of migratroy waterfowl. All these lakes, and Hebbal in particular, have been the subject of numerous scholars and researchers studying wetlands, birds, aquatic life and so on. Hebbal Lake has infact been repeatedly proposed for conservation as a bird refuge, and its watershed as a Regional Park (per the Lakshman Rau Committee Report 1988).
These water bodies are also critical open spaces for children of surrounding neighbourhoods whose sensibilities towards nature and its dynamics are also awakened by the easy access to such open spaces.
We sincerely believe that it is an unnecessary and damaging investment to now lease out these very lakes for advancing commercial interests. Besides being illegal this will take away our public commons and our natural heritage and will only benefit a few commercial entities. This loss will be dear and felt by present and future generations.
Keeping all this in view, we urge the Hon'ble High Court of Karnataka-- which is hearing a Public Interest Litigation filed by Environment Support Group (ESG) against privatisation of lakes-- that the programme of lake privatization must be abandoned. We strongly feel that lakes must be maintained as our common heritage, their maintenance undertaken with the cooperation of local communities and no activity inconsistent with the traditional and specific use of the water bodies should be allowed now or in the future.
As concerned individuals, we are keen to assist the Government of Karnataka and its agencies in any intervention that will ensure the protection and sustenance of our lakes systems.
Do join us in a symbolic event to be held on 22nd June 2008 at Agara Lake, Kormangala. Through the Human Chain we will symbolically express that we want to preserve and conserve our lakes for the current and the future generations. . Event: Human Chain around Agara Tank Location: Agara Tank: see, http://wikimapia. org/#lat= 12.921683& lon=77.641642& z=17&l=0& m=a&v=2 How to get there: zoom-out on the imagery to chalk out your route OR from BTM Layout -Silk Board and from under the Hosur Road fly-over go towards Sarjapur Road for nearly a kilometer. The tank is adjacent to the traffic island linking Koramangala and HSR Layout. Date: SUNDAY, June 22, 2008 Time: 11.00AM Contact persons: Deepak Arya <z_axis@sify. com> 9844025235; U Harish Kumar <uharishkumar@ gmail.com> 9241291835. Request: Pass this info to others concerned. "