Kukkarahalli Lake Conservation: Stakeholder Workshop discusses historical aspects, major issues
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Kukkarahalli Lake Conservation: Stakeholder Workshop discusses historical aspects, major issues

June 22, 2024

Mysore/Mysuru: A Stakeholder Workshop on the Conservation of Kukkarahalli Lake, organised by the New Delhi-based Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), began this morning at the Mysore School of Architecture.

Stakeholders of Kukkarahalli Lake are Mysureans as the Lake is a public waterbody. Environment groups, NGOs, green activists, those residents of city who have participated in protests to save the Kukkarahalli Lake, their support groups, form the corpus of stakeholders. Any environmentally aware public person who has a say to conserve the Lake can be a stakeholder. These activists are meticulously identified and invites are sent to participate in the Stakeholder meetings.

The workshop has gathered key stakeholders of Kukkarahalli Lake to discuss and address major conservation and management issues concerning the iconic water body.

Mysuru Urban Development Authority (MUDA) has awarded a tender worth Rs. 63,80,000  to INTACH for preparing a Detailed Project Report (DPR) aimed at conserving and rejuvenating Kukkarahalli Lake, providing the backdrop for this Stakeholder Workshop.

During his presentation on the lake’s historical aspects, Prof. N.S. Rangaraju, a retired professor from the Department of Ancient History and Archaeology at the University of Mysore, highlighted the decades-long activism to protect Kukkarahalli Lake.

He underscored the efforts of activists like Prof. K.M. Jayaramaiah, affectionately known as ‘Kere Jayaramaiah’, MGP Founder Bhamy V. Shenoy and wetland expert and conservationist U.N. Ravi Kumar. Their advocacy has been instrumental in preserving the lake amidst challenges such as pollution and sewage discharge, which threaten this central water body in Mysuru.

Alongside the Save Kukkarahalli Campaign, there is a formidable movement to Save Chamundi Hill, led by environmentally conscious residents of Mysuru, highlighting the city’s commitment to conserving its iconic natural landmarks, remarked the speaker.

INTACH Principal Director Manu Bhatnagar speaking during the session this morning.

Chola-period Lake

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“Kukkarahalli Lake dates back to Chola period. There was also a ‘Chola Kere’, later known as ‘Doddakere’ near Mysore Palace, now sadly devoid of its lake properties and known as ‘Doddakere Maidan’,” he explained.

“The water from Kukkarahalli Lake was pristine and drinkable in 1968-1969, sustaining residents of Kukkarahalli village. Today, however, the water is unfit for consumption, emitting a foul odour that pervades the surroundings. Gallons of sewage and detergent water flows into it from Paduvarahalli, Jayalakshmipuiram, University hostels and PG accommodations,” he lamented.

The Wadiyars, former rulers of Mysuru, displayed foresight by constructing the Dewan Poornaiah Canal, the primary water source for Kukkarahalli Lake. Spanning 22 kilometres through Bogadi, Basavanahalli, Dasanakoppalu, Maratikyathanahalli, Hinkal, Madahalli, Huyilalu and other areas, the Canal is now largely encroached upon, obstructing freshwater flow into the lake, noted Prof. Rangaraju.

Lack of conservation efforts

“The watchtower within the lake, built by the Wadiyars, equipped with a door, steps and mechanisms for water level measurement, is now dilapidated due to the appalling lack of conservation efforts by the administration,” he added. “Kukkarahalli Lake, a public asset, must be safeguarded to prevent it from suffering the fate of  ‘Doddakere Maidan’.”

The inaugural session featured a Database Presentation on Kukkarahalli Lake by Manu Bhatnagar, Principal Director of INTACH. Subsequently, Dr. R. Yadupathi Putty, an expert in hydrology and water resources, will address lake water management and hydrology.

Conservationist U.N. Ravi Kumar will lead a session on the rejuvenation and management of the Dewan Poornaiah Canal. Following these presentations, there will be working group discussions and the formulation of recommendations.

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