Chinnappanahalli Lake in Bengaluru, which used to be the perfect getaway for hundreds of joggers, walkers and children, had become a victim of constant garbage dumping, filth and a general degradation due to the rapid urbanisation around it.
This, till Prabhashankar Rai, decided to turn its fate around.
In 2011, Prabhashankar saw the plight of the lake and decided to inform the authorities, to seek their help and restore the water body.
“There was a board listing with the numbers of a contractor and a commissioner, but when I called them about the upkeep of the lake, I didn’t get a favourable response. That was it. I decided I wanted to develop and rejuvenate it,” he told Bangalore Mirror.
Thus, the Chinnappanahalli Lake Development Trust, of which Prabhashankar is the President and Managing Trustee, came into existence.
For four years after that, Prabhashankar spearheaded the initiative to restore the beautiful lake.
Since he comes from an agricultural background and is a fisheries technologist, Prabhashankar had some experience and vision of how to go about the rejuvenation project. He employed 25 workers from Gulbarga who removed the weeds from the lake, in addition to desilting and cleaning it for two months.
He also used his contacts in various industries to sponsor and donate funds required to beautify the lake and make it a wonderful place for recreation and exercise. United Way, Siemens, and General Motors helped him paint curbstones, install solar lamps, and farm implements respectively.
He even pitched in his own money and asked his friends and family to donate to this cause.
Today, the lake boasts of a senior citizen’s area, a children’s park, a walkway, a fence, granite benches and so much more!
Prabhashankar had even signed a three-year MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP)—the civic body which had failed to keep their promise to restore the lake, in the initial stages.
Prabhashankar had almost reached the end of his patience with the BBMP and a few apathetic citizens when a news story and subsequent criticism from concerned citizens set the wheels turning again.
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As a part of the MoU, the BBMP sanctioned Rs 50 lakh and is being put to good use. Although the work is progressing rather slowly, the praiseworthy initiative taken by Prabhashankar will surely bear fruit!