Under PPP, Kundanhalli lake gets STP worth Rs.2 crs, Qualcomm gives Re. 1 cr

From The New Indian Express

BENGALURU: A tele-communications products company offered a financial help of Rs 1 crore to United Way Bengaluru, an NGO, to revive Kundalahalli Lake under Corporate Social Responsibility activity.This contribution is towards the setting up of a sewage treatment plant at Kundalahalli Lake, near Whitefield.

Qualcomm, with an office in Whitefield, is funding the project through CSR. The announcement was made at a ceremony organised to inaugurate work on the project on Monday. Bengaluru Development and Town Planning Minister K J George and Bengaluru Central MP P C Mohan were present.

The plant at Kundalahalli is an initiative by United Way Bengaluru (UWB), an organisation working towards reviving and protecting the city’s lakes, in association with Whitefield Rising, a citizen-based action group. UWB works with NGOs and corporate entities to achieve its goal, said Manish Micheal, Executive Director, United Way Bengaluru. Kundalahalli is one of 14 lakes, where the organisation is at work.

Minister George said the state government worked to provide infrastructure facilities in Bengaluru, a city growing by leaps and bounds. “In the past, Whitefield was a serene and beautiful pensioners’ paradise. It looked like a village,” he said. “It is now home to software companies. Only when everyone — resident welfare associations, NGOs and corporates — join hands with the government, can overall development of a neighbourhood take place.”

Mayor B N Manjunatha Reddy, who was also present at the function, said that the BBMP is planning to take up the construction of a  pathway around the lake, desilting, deweeding and other beautification works, separately, at a cost of Rs 3 crore from next month.

Puneet Singh, Director (Engineering), Qualcomm India, said the firm had been in talks the last six months about this project.

“Some of our employees have participated in lake rejuvenation programmes organised by Whitefiled Rising and other NGOs. They approached us for financial assistance for the rejuvenation of Kundalahalli Lake,” he said. “Since we live here and have our office, we felt it is our responsibility to save lakes for next generation.”

The decision was arrived at a meeting with the various stakeholders: the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, resident welfare associations and UWB. The plant is non-electricity-based, cost-effective and  low-maintenance. Work on it will begin from March.

“This treatment plant will have the capacity to process 780 kilolitres of raw sewage daily. It doesn’t require electricity; it cleans water in a natural way,” Singh said. Similar facilities set up elsewhere by other firms have shown that maintenance costs are low, he added.

As a first step towards the rejuvenation of Kundalahalli Lake, the plant will stop raw sewage from entering it. Kundalahalli resident Gopal S blamed the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) for untreated sewage draining into the lake. “The board has not provided underground drainage facility in many pockets and so some residents and companies are forced to divert untreated sewage into lake. Construction debris is also dumped,” he added.

Puneet Singh, Director its’s a CSR activities, said the lake can be maintained only with the support of local communities. “Though we set up the facilities, the responsibility to protect their lakes lies with the local communities,” he said. “This initiative shows how combined efforts from different quarters can help.”

Plans for the City

Bengaluru Development and Town Planning Minister K J George said that he will visit Bellandur lake with a team of experts and come out with long-term and short-term solutions. He said that Rs 1,500 crore-worth development works have been taken up in the city and a tender would be floated soon for Rs 700-crore-worth of road work. To eliminate traffic woes, signal-free corridors and elevated road works are also being planned.

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