Six people have drowned in past two years, in different incidents at the Bheemanakuppe lake in Bengaluru
By Archita Chakraborty
Bengaluru: There are no cautionary signs near the Bheemanakuppe Lake to inform the visitors about the depth and safe distance from the lake. Despite numerous cases of drowning and visitors getting injured, no measures have been taken to ensure safety around the lake.
In past two years, six deaths have been reported in the Bheemanakuppe Lake, due to drowning. Residents near the lake complain about lack of safety measures around the lake. Vijeesh, a resident of Bheemanakuppe village, said, “Last year in October, three students who came from Magadi Road for picnic, drowned in this lake. In the same year, an electrician from our village drowned in tha lake after falling. The fire and emergency department fished out the bodies after two hours. The lake is quite deep and dangerous. But people often don’t understand because there’s no warning board from the governing authority.”
In 2017, a 13-year-old boy drowned in the same lake where he went for a swim. Kumbalgodu police suspected that he drowned after he got stuck in the silt and reported a case of unnatural death.
The former gram panchayat pradhan said, “This lake is unsafe, but in the village people are used to taking a quick bath in lakes. Even the college students come on weekends and have fun. Every year there are at least two or three cases of death. As we are on the outskirts of Bangalore, Bheemanakuppe lake doesn’t come under BBMP. We used to warn them but people don’t listen and they go far without knowing how deep the lake is and so they drown.”
“We try to give safety protection in Bheemanakuppe Lake during the Ganesha Immersionbecause at that time, there is large gathering of people and there is a high chance of accident or death. But rest of the year, it is up to gram panchayat totake care of this lake and the safety of people,” said Ekambhar, the head constable of Kumbalgodu police station.
Another resident Krishna Gora, Retired Additional Secretary of BBMP, said, “BBMP should also take care of the lakes which are in the outskirts. The area of Bheemanakuppe lake is 39.6 acres and one gram panchayat is not enough to look after it. People will never listen until there are some sort of proper warning signs or boards. Most of them who come to visit the lake are youngsters from colleges or school and they obviously don’t pay attention to our warnings.”
Anil Bhaskaran, an urban planner, recommended more safety measures to be taken by the concerned authorities. He said, “The gram panchayat should take care of the safety. They should put a safety board in front of the lake to warn people. The public and law enforcement agencies should join hands with the government authorities to maintain the lake.”
Another urban planner, Srinivas suggested that Panchayat authorities should hold a public consultation with all stakeholders, citizens and policy and revenue departments and make an action to plan and execute it.