Karnataka: Proactive Dharwad citizens clear hyacinth from Kelageri Lake | Bengaluru News – Times of India
President of Jan Jagruti Sangh, Dharwad Basavara Korawar pointed to the deep emotional ties that the residents of the city shared with Kelageri Lake.
“We grew up swimming and playing in the lake. Unfortunately, the flow of sewage into the lake from Nehru Nagar and Anjaneya Nagar, has resulted in unchecked growth of weeds such as water hyacinths. This weed decreases the level of oxygen in the water, which, in turn, leads to the death of fish, crocodiles, among others. Over the years, many lakes in Dharwad have disappeared, and the city now has just three – Kelageri, Sadhanakere and Kolikeri,” Korawar told TOI.
When the citizens knocked on the doors of the Hubballi-Dharwad Municipal Corporation (HDMC), they were informed that the civic agency was responsible for the development of infrastructure around the lake – benches, walking paths, et al.
“HDMC officials informed us that it was the University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS), Dharwad, which was responsible for clearing weeds from the lake. UAS officials, however, too expressed their helplessness, and offered only 12 or 13 labourers, and a few tractors. That is when we decided to rope in citizens for the initiative, and launched a campaign on social media. Around 15 to 20 people including doctors, teachers, volunteered to help rid the lake of weeds. We only paid for their breakfast, but other citizens offered to pay for earth moving machines and other mechanical equipment,” Korawar said.
Kelageri resident Manjunath Hiremath said that, work on clearing the lake of weeds, commenced on July 9, and was brought to an abrupt halt only in the face of unrelenting rain.
“The lake is spread across 170 acres, of which hyacinth has covered nearly 40 acres. We have cleared the hyacinth from around 25 acres. The weed that was removed was stuffed into 30 tractors, which we have dumped at a nearby pool. Once we started cleaning the lake, many organisations including Rotary Club Dharwad Central, Nature First Eco Village, Dharwad Bonds Facebook Page, among others, stepped forward to lend their support to our initiative,” Hiremath said.
Associate director of research at UAS, Dharwad Mrutyunjay Wali said that Kelageri Lake was a fertile pool for scientific research. “The lake must be preserved in the larger interests of the farmers. Unfortunately, we do not have the funds to undertake cleaning of the lake. But when citizens approached us seeking help, we were able to provide them with labour and a few tractors,” said Wali, calling on the district administration to take measures to stop the flow of sewage into the lake.