BENGALURU: Thousands of lakes and other water bodies have disappeared in the state in the past two-three decades.
In 1987, the number of water bodies in the state was 40,112, while it decreased to 39,086 in 1993. In 2001, only 30,773 water bodies were left, said Minor Irrigation Department minister T B Jayachandra. He was replying to V S Ugrappa of Congress in the council after the latter raised the question of encroachment of lakes.
Ugrappa said that lakes are not getting filled because of encroachment and presence of silt.
Jayachandra said the Union government conducts surveys on lakes and other water bodies. The latest census was conducted in 2013 and sent to Union government, but it did not match. “Now, a resurvey is under process,” he added.
Referring to the Minor Irrigation Department, the minister said water bodies that are sized between 40 hectares and 2000 hectares come under his department.
“We conduct surveys of the water bodies falling under our jurisdiction. We have 3,677 such water bodies of which the survey of 2,418 lakes is completed. Another 721 lakes fall under forest and government land. Survey of the remaining will be done soon,” the minister added. Of the 2,418 lakes, 1,470 lakes have been encroached upon partially. As many as 6,871 hectares were encroached.
“We have cleared encroachments from 6,319 hectares. We will soon remove all other encroachments. We need to protect the lakes before it is too late,” he said.