Taking the plunge

Bangalore's lakes set to be leased out

By Ramya Viswanath
Published: Sunday 29 February 2004

-- (Credit: Ramya Vishwanath / CSE)a new plan has been floated as a part of Bangalore's ongoing lake revival project. It envisages leasing out 23 lakes in Karnataka's capital to private and public agencies for maintenance and development. The success of the scheme depends on the interest evinced in the work by corporate houses as a part of their social responsibility.

The adopt-develop-operate-and-transfer process has been proposed by the city's Lake Development Authority (lda) for a period of 15 years. The lda is the autonomous body that has chalked out the resurrection strategy for the city's waterbodies. "(In the latest venture) the agencies can earn revenue by organising water sports, boating, etc, in the lakes, and making walkways and jogging tracks around them," reveals A K Varma, lda's chief executive officer. He claims that developers are favourably disposed to executing the project, but laments the lukewarm reaction of the information technology sector.

The lda had earlier identified 60 lakes in and around the city for a four-stage restoration process, which is to be completed over the next four years (see: 'Readying for a refill', Down To Earth, July 15, 2003). In the first stage, government agencies undertook the work. They were involved in desilting 12 lakes, diverting sewage to treatment plants and reactivating storm water drains. The public-private partnership scheme, the next phase of the project, was conceived in October 2003.

Twelve agencies have submitted statements showing keenness to participate in the new scheme. Varma says their financial capability will be taken into account before work is allotted. A shortlist, drawn on the basis of the agencies' response, would be announced on February 23. Those selected will have to submit a detailed 'request', after which tenders will be called. What remains to be seen is how many private agencies and developers actually take the bait.

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