Part 3 – Story of the Lake – HELL!
Thank you for the overwhelming response you have shown for my previous bit and I sincerely acknowledge it. I forgot to add one line in my last bit. Normally after rains, lot of people with varieties of nets would throng this lake from neighboring areas for fishing! By evening they will be having bags full of fishes! Also I am thankful to some readers who have put in their memoirs. Also if anybody can add to the then Vidyaranyapura, please add your bit also, we shall share our experiences.
The responsibility of the water supply and collection of water charges was handled by BEL Residents Welfare Association(BELRWA). The maintenance of the Plant &Aerators was shifted to BELRWA. BELRWA started collecting the plant maintenance charges from residents of BEHBS Society. The Cleaning plant was given unauthorized connections by all authorized and unauthorized layouts in &around Vidyaranyapura amidst opposition by Society and Welfare Association. And it seems unauthorized connections were taken in the midnights! Discussions were held and the unauthorized connections continued.
The plant could not take the over load; the work lagged resulting in entire area filled with very obnoxious and bad smell. As the power supply was erratic, the aerators will go dead and will not be repaired for months. Even today some aerators (relics) can be seen in the lake right side. Human excreta were floating on the water surface and who ever went for boating should have a thorough bath! Godambi plants were put around the plant because they absorb the smell.
All our wells surrounding this plant got contaminated and this water could not be used for drinking or any other purpose. Almost all the wells in the area were to be abandoned and individuals took the initiative of filling them.
Daily one group of residents will go to the President of HBS Society and lodge complaints without any permanent redressal action. This went on for some time and the agony of the Fifth and Second Block and surrounding Residents and almost the entire layout were beyond words. The residents who were bit away had not these problems but whenever they passed through the main road, they had this experience. All the 24 hours bad smell will be there, Evening hours crores of mosquitoes of different variety and sizes will throng the homes.
Added to it relatives could not be invited to our homes for any social meet! A sort of Inferiority Complex was in built among the residents of these blocks and we were afraid that one day all of us will get Elephentalisis(In Kannada ANEKALU ROGA-Where your legs will become like elephants leg…) disease because of this water. Also we were afraid of Hydrosilis where the Testicles get enlarged to the size of Coconut and even more. In Chennai this disease was common due to the water contamination (this I had read and seen some people with this disease at Madras).
Boating was withdrawn slowly.
Some of the citizens had some other problems which can be attributed to this contaminated water. In addition Vidyaranyapura became prone to Lung and Intestine infections and one of our Doctors at BEL Hospital studied the problem and presented a paper at one of the National Medical seminars. This torture went for nearly some ten years. The Residents had the real experience of a HELL! The life became a real hell for the residents adjoining this lake.
By this time the rep. From Vidyaranyapura was one Mr.Manjunatha ( if I am correct) for Byatarayanapura Municipal Council & he took some initiative to combat the issue without any considerable success. The matter was taken to Pollution Control Board by residents of Fifth and Second Blocks and in each meeting of the Welfare Association and House Building Society this problem will take the major time. Tons and Tons of solid excreta was digged and laid by the side of Effluent plant outside of compound adjoining our main road for drying purpose and entire surrounding had the smell !
Large and thick bushes were grown by the side of plant with cattle fodder and weeds. The bushes were so thick and dense reminding us of African Forests! During this time one human body was dumped in this bush and the smell of the plant and the decomposed body could not be distinguished. Only when the police investigation started we were aware of this fact. Such was our pathetic plight.
Also pressure was built on all concerned by BEL Residents Welfare Association and the then Secretary Mr.Ananda Shetty and his team used all their resources including political contacts to get the treatment plant shifted.
Finally things began to take shape and steps were mooted for the present park by our elected representatives with the support by BELRWA and Residents. Earlier the stagnated polluted water was drained out through an opening (THOOBU-In Kannada ) to adjoining Layout. Problem shifted to neighboring layout! After this, the lake land got dried up. Pipe lines were put to stream line the water inside the lake. The contaminated treated water was piped out .
The dried land smelt of human excreta and the area continued to be BAYALU PAYAKHANE and harvesting for mosquitoes! This condition remained for about two years with added problems of pipes being broken for cattle feeding and Toilet cleansing etc and though the smell got reduced living conditions were horrible. In individual capacity we were able to highlight the problems through Media and attention of the concerned was drawn, our representatives involved more and more and the scenario started to metamorphose.
Bangalore Mahanagara Palike became Brihat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike after getting all the surrounding villages into its fold. Smt.Nandini Srinivas and Sri Pillappa were elected from our constituency and as both of them were aware of the problem, they took initiative to find some ways. They were ably supported by Mr.Krishna Byregowda who represented the constituency in Assembly.
By this time Kaveri Water supply was given to few blocks of BEL HBS area. All the wells, Storage overhead Tanks, the underground supply pipes and our cleaning plants-anything connected with water was handed over to BWSSB. Now where ever you see the BWSSB Board in our layout, those places belonged to our House Building Society and in turn to us!
Open Toilet facility continued because nobody had toilets for construction workers. Mean time garbage collection started and some collection centers were located in the area. One such center was in front of Ganesha Temple Fourth Block, other was at the Main road leading to the present Venkateshwara Temple.
People used to bring garbage in polythene bags and throw it on the roads and ride off! In 2010-11 an individual with influence at Govt. level came to reside at Fifth Block and he met the residents and persuaded to have this garbage collection center removed and the street planted with some saplings to avoid further garbage dumping. We pooled money, removed the garbage collection center ( it went to Second Block !) with the help of Health Officer and some saplings were put on either side of the road. Mean time the then Commissioner Sri Siddaiah was met and highlighted the civic problems. Our Corporators were with us. We got assured that proper care will be taken. Open Toilet facility continued.
Within a few weeks one JCB entered the lake area and the lone driver worked for about two months to convert the lake into present shape. The fencing was done around the lake, jagging path was created, footpath stones were put, paintings were made on them, more trees and bamboo saplings were planted. Also they are watered at regular intervals and our corporator visits the area almost every day, supervises the work and helps in watering….
The area got a facelift and the scenario had a drastic change. We can see a large number of people of all ages bringing their bodies to better shape every morning and evening .The Residents of our Vidyaranyapura are brimming with good health .There is scope for further improvements also. The things are taking a better shape slowly now. New saplings are put, area got cleaned. Open Toilet Facility is no more existing…. We are breathing fresh air. We are seeing greenness around us… Good number of beautiful singing birds are again humming in our ears… Slowly Vidyaranyapura is becoming Heaven again…..!
We had planted a tree in the middle of the road leading to Venkateshwara Temple as a speed breaker to Lorries which were carrying building materials and running at high speed. This tree was protected till 2013. Then the present Arch was constructed (it took almost 18 months) and final paintings were done. You can observe Spelling Mistake in Kannada Devastana which was brought to the notice of Temple people. But still it continues….! One fine day this tree was removed by the Temple authorities. One tree which had protected the Residents for about 20 plus years from Mowing by Vehicles was chopped off and there was nobody to shudder a tear……..
I have heard from my young friends that a request is being made for cleaning plant in this lake to have abundant supply of water. Actually we are citing the lakes which are having these cleaning plants and the Eco there. Those plants are not in Residential Areas and they have a regular power supply with backings of Generators. No such plants exists at Malleshwara, Sadashivanagara,Rajajinagara or even at R M Vilas or any new layouts. We do not have enough infrastructures to combat the unforeseen circumstances which may lead to calamity again. One important thing is no residential area is having the cleaning plants in the heart of it.
Before demanding for such plants let us think of the plight of people who are residing around the lakes and past experiences should make us bit wiser in solving the practical problems which we have already faced. Also I feel the plant can be installed at Dodda Bommasandra Lake and we can draw the treated water from this source to our lakes. For this purpose we will have to involve the people from surrounding areas also who will be the beneficiaries once the plant starts working.
Next : POWER SUPPLY IN 1980s……!
As an earlier settler of Vidyaranyapura 5th Block(now restricted as B.E.L.Layout) Mr. H.Gopalakrishna very well narrated his feelings, experiences and what he had come through in the initial stages of our BEECHBS Layout. When the very First house was constructed in the year 1980 by one Sri B.S.Anantharam in the 3rd Block, there was no water to build his house though there were two Lakes near by. He is the first person to dig a ground well for drinking water as well as for construction requirement. Though he was the First person to construct the house he kept the house vacant for nearly five years and lived in BEL quarters in Nagaland. During 1981 Mr. Basker Hegde constructed his house and moved into the Layout with his family consisting of school going daughters. He being Hegde by name was so courageous to live alone with his family of little children with out Electricity, Water supply and U.G.D. by our BEECHBS for nearly two years.
For sanitation he had built a septic tank for collection of human wastages. Following his courage a few more allottees started constructions in our Layout in the end year 1981 and two more residents Mr. E. A.Saleem and Mr.K.S.R.Murthy moved into the Layout in First Block and 3rd Block respectively. Three Residents families in the entire 260 Acres of land caused anxiety to then Managing Committee of the Society to aggravate the development to provide earlier arrangements to Supply of water and electricity primerly. First thing BEECHBS appointed one Mr. Seenappa to live in the Layout to provide some security and assistance to the residents as watchman.
By that time already many allottees started digging wells at one end of the site and construction of a septic tank in other end of the site at a distance of about say 40 feet. Particularly constructing septic tanks and digging of wells in 2nd, 4th and 5th Block was really problematic. This created the urgency in providing the water supply lines and U.G.D. Lines along with Electricity. By the second half of 1982 BEECHBS was successfully in getting the electrical lines to the Layout.
Regarding water Supply and U.G.D. the earlier committee had made some effort by making pipes laying as per plans provided by M/s Dorai and Shesh, experts in planning water supply and sewerage lines for the Layouts and already laid water pipes in First Block of our Layout only using cast iron pipes getting supplies from V.I.S.L., Badravathi. To continue with the work all the other blocks water lines were laid by using Polythene water pipes as the cast iron water pipes production was stopped in VSNL by that time. Two contractors one Mr. Chinnappa Reddy and another Mr. Narasimhaiah were awarded the work of laying water and sewerage pipes by then BEL formed Functional Committee to get the development work done and Supervise under the Engineers and Staff of Civil Engineering Department of BEL. Thanks to one Late Mr.George and Mr. Vasudevamurthy and other staff of our BEL Civil Engineering staff and both contractors for taking trouble to complete the work in record time to provide water supply and Sewerage system to our BEL Layout.
As per the planes provided by M/s Dorai and Shesh the entire sewerage lines were led to a point in the Civic Amenity area by the Lake in Sy.No.20 considering the gradients to a large Soak pit as there were no other area was available in the jurisdiction of BEECHBS. By then the Lake Water was used only for Agricultural purposes for the Agricultural land adjacent to other side of the Lake bund. If the UGD is not done every house has to construct a septic tank and A good number of residents have to do periodical cleaning of their own soak pits which work had taken up by the BEECHBS to clear the large Soak pit periodically instead of each and every residents under going hardship of removing human waste from individual soak pit. As time progressed the houses increased in all the neighbouring Layouts and new Layouts started coming up by other side of lake bund our BEECHBS planned the Treatment Plant in Consultation with Civil Engineering Department of Bharath Electronics which was having the experience in having a big treatment plant for its Coloney.
The Plant was constructed at the cost of Rs. 36,00,000/- of BEECHBS funds hoping the contribution from neighbouring HMT, NTI and IECHBS societies as per the agreements entered into which Mr.Gopalakrishna has already narrated above.
BEECHBS made this treatment plant where the earlier soak pit was there as there was no other option as already existing lines were lead to that soak pit and BEECHBS was confident this was the temporary arrangement as the entire layout is going to be handed over to B.D.A. In the days to come which may think of alternative arrangements under its schemes in the large interest of the General PUblic. No doubt till recently BEECHBS and BWSSB came together, this plant was a curse to the residents and by passers as narrated by Mr.H. Gopalakrishna. No doubt BEECHBS has arranged fishery in the Lake in consultation with Fishery department at nearby Hesaragatta and contributed large funds to Forest Department for the Development of the lake and adjacent Park inaugurated by then Chief Minister as narrated by Mr.Gopalakrishna.
We residents of Vidyaranyapura and our families who went through an adventurous time in the early years of our living in VIdyaranyapur shall be thankfully to various departments of Government for providing all the services and civic amenities for us. Jai Hind, Jai Karnataka
Further I would like to say some thing about Vidyaranyapura Residents welfare Association which was formed in 1981-82. Its First President was Sri G.Ramachandra, Sri K.S. R. Murthy was the First Secretary, Mr. Kannaraju was the treasurer. BEECHBS had given all the recognition to it. When the water supply system was established the running and maintenance was entrusted to VRWA considering it as second line of action for BEECHBS and met with all its demands and requests.
When the bus facilities were not there BELManagement had offered to provide a bus to VRWS to run shuttle service between BEL colony and Vidyaranyapura as amenity service. Unfortunately VRWS had no proper strength then to accept the Offer and there was no proper connecting road also. BEECHBS had given a spacious accommodation to VRWS to run its activities. In the initial stages of the Layout during 1981 to 1985 VRWA had a lot of services to do to its residents. Mr. K.S.R.Murthy really strived hard to maintain the water supply system and street lighting etc. after factory hours as the Hon. secretary of VRWA.
No doubt when the D.E.T. plant was established BEECHBS strived hard to transfer the responsibility of running and maintaining it to VRWA. VRWA has become wise in not accepting the responsibility though it accepted to collect Rs.5/- from each resident along with the water supply charges and deposit the sewerage maintenance charges to BEECHBS. BEECHBS had no other option other than to give the maintenance of DET plant to contractors and superwise the maintenance periodically. VRWA worked hand in hand with BEECHBS in bringing Kaveri Water Supply to Vidyaranyapura and strived hard to see that BWSSB taking some action in moving the DET plant from its location.
Recently I am thankful to VRWA which later years becom BEL LAyout Residents Welfare Association for conducting health check up camp during March 2013 for Senior Residents members in connection with Colombia Asia Hospital in which I came to know I have to undergo Bypass surgery to renew my life. Jai Vidyaranyapura and to its community.
Mr.HSS, Very happy to get into olden days. In fact the story of Vidyaranyapura will be incomplete without the memoirs of seniors like you and your friends. When the history of Residents Associations is recorded I will put all the efforts put by our Office bearers of WRA. In fact Mr.Murthy is the person who took initiative in planting sapples in the layout in addition to his other routine work. He was given Vrikshamithra ( if I remember correctly)award for his doyen service. Mr.Ramachandra is still very active and we have to acknowledge the services rendered by these people along with the early settlers( Mr.Hegde,Mr.Salim and others) who infused a sort of confidence among others. All your inputs are acknowledged with gratitude. Please pour more and more so that we can have a full picture of Vidyaranyapura growth.