PNLIT - Caretakers of Puttenahalli Puttakere for 13 years

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Usha Rajagopalan

Jun 11, 2023, 3:04:41 AM6/11/23
Dear Friends, 

Today, 11th June, we complete 13 years of nurturing Puttenahalli Puttakere in south Bengaluru. Our team was registered as Puttenahalli Neighbourhood Lake Improvement Trust (PNLIT) on this day in 2010 with Prasanna Vynatheya, Arathi Manay, OP Ramaswamy and Usha Rajagopalan as founder trustees. Prasanna stepped down. Other residents, Nupur Jain, Sangeetha Agrawal, Divya Shetty and Nandhini Sriraaman joined the Trust. 

PNLIT's Vision was to: Encourage local communities to partner with the government to restore and nurture lakes in Bengaluru.

Mission: Make Puttenahalli Lake, a People’s Lake, replicable model of a citizen led conservation project. Synopsis of Activities:

a)         Nurture the lake and its surroundings.

b)         Develop the lake as a focal point of promoting environment awareness

c)         Encourage and activate the local community to participate in nurturing the lake.

Regular visitors and those of you living in the vicinity of the lake know how the lake looks today. How many of you will know or remember what it looked like before we became its citizen custodians? See these photographs

11 June 2023  

aerial view 11 June 2023 Aparna.jpg

 Before rejuvenation, 2008 

Puttenahalli Puttakere 2008.JPG

Closeup taken yesterday, 10 June 2023
aerial view 10 June 2023 Madhurima.jpg

The same area in 2008
Puttenahalli Lake  2009.jpg

The landscape now has more concrete but the lake has become a green healthy space for humans and safe habitat for birds, butterflies, fish, reptiles and more (see links below).  The credit for this goes in a large part to the support we have received from the community around the lake. From 2010 to now, we have been meeting maintenance expenses with donations from residents. This uniqueness makes Puttakere truly a People's Lake. 

Our thanks are also due to our many volunteers, knowledge experts, and corporate partners who have been with us through the ups and downs of this endeavour. The lake belongs to the government and we have interacted with officials from several departments. We remember with gratitude several of them who acted promptly and solved problems. 

We continue to confront two challenges - 

1) Puttakere was rejuvenated in 2009 without the authorities removing the encroachment. Indeed, the slum in the premises has grown from about 40 families in 2010 to 115, or more, today. Our endeavour to rehabilitate the slum dwellers began in 2008 and we hoped it would come to an end when the Hon’ble High Court passed an order on 15 July 2022 on our WP 4964/2021 directing the Executive Engineer, BBMP Bommanahalli Zone to evict the slum from the premises. However, the slum dwellers filed a writ petition (WP 20300/2022) and in just two days obtained a Stay Order on 12/10/2022.  The respondents were given three weeks to file their objections. They are yet to do so. 

2) In 2020, BBMP (Lakes) did not renew our MoU or those with MAPSAS, Ibblur Environs Trust,  Jalaposhan, and NeTra. The reason, we were told, was because of a High Court order in WP 38401/2014 passed on 04/03/2020 which said that “...the State Government shall not execute any such MOU with any Corporate Entity." We have informed BBMP officials, repeatedly, that we represent the local community and are not commercial organizations. Our only interest is to ensure that our lakes do not become extinct like countless others in the city. Without a valid MoU, the bigger lakes which were maintained with CSR funds are deteriorating by the day. PNLIT continues its work as before thanks to all those donors and volunteers who have been supporting us and the lake for so many years.  
Our birthday wish is that the BBMP resolves these two issues at the earliest so that we can complete the transformation of Puttenahalli Puttakere and take appropriate steps to ensure that the lake continues to thrive. 

We look forward to your support and best wishes.

With best regards
For listing (in progress) of flora and fauna:
For Ravish Kumar's report on Bengaluru lakes which has had over 5.6 lakh views since it was released in Feb 2023:

Photo credits: 
2008 and 2009 - Usha Rajagopalan
2023 Aerial view - Aparna Rajagopalan; Close up - Madhurima Das

PNLIT: Breathing Life into a Lake
Puttenahalli Lake from June 2010

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