This ‘lake’ will get a toy train, come what may


The KTCDA had rejected BBMP’s proposal for building a train track, a train station, a library and allied works in Mathikere Lake

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) appears to have made up its mind to build a toy train facility and vintage-style railway station in JP Park. Despite the Karnataka Tank Conservation and Development Authority (KTCDA) rejecting the BBMP Lakes’ Department’s proposal of constructing these facilities, the civic body has gone ahead with the project by handing over the work to the divisional office in Rajarajeshwari Nagar (RR Nagar).

On Wednesday, the Executive Engineer of BBMP’s RR Nagar division floated tenders for providing a train track, a train station, a library and allied works in Mathikere Lake (JP Park) at an estimated cost of Rs 19 crore. The project may take about six months to complete, as per officials. The park already attracts thousands of people including fitness enthusiasts, every day.

These works were originally part of the Detailed Project Report (DPR) prepared by the lake division of the BBMP.

It’s easy to create a new park but developing a lake is difficult. The new proposals will definitely reduce the water holding capacity of the lake. Already, many lakes have been reduced to parks

— V Ramprasad, convener, Friends of Lakes

The technical committee of KTDCA had stated that they cannot approve a majority of these projects as it was violating the rules. They had sent back the file stating that these works had nothing to do with conservation of the lake. The recent tender shows that the BBMP has handed over the project to the RR Nagar division, which has taken up these projects without the approval of the KTCDA.

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While visitors — especially children — may rejoice over the proposed works including the toy train, there are concerns over the BBMP’s design. The track will be built in the shape of a circle on the boundaries of the park. As per the design, the track runs very close to the lake in two places. This is a clear violation of several orders by the High Court and National Green Tribunal (NGT). Even BBMP had issued a circular stating that no construction activity should take place in the buffer zone of the lake.

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The train is also proposed to pass through the concrete tunnel at one spot, at least. Other than the track and the tunnel, BBMP has proposed a vintage-style railway station near the entrance of the park. Other proposals for facilities include a water fountain, sand track, library, statue, toilets, yoga platform etc. Some of the works that may not attract the wrath of environmentalists include: a peacock and deer park in the park.

“It’s easy to create a new park but developing a lake is difficult. The new proposals will definitely reduce the water holding capacity of the lake. Already, many lakes have been reduced to a park. It’s unfortunate that people like lakes being turned into parks. Lakes importance as a water recharging, flood mitigation and micro climate ecosystem is never taken care of,” said V Ramprasad, convener, Friends of Lakes.



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Sagar Biswas

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