Thursday, July 23, 2009

River Arkavathy: Engineers at work

River Arkavathy: Engineers at work
River Arkavathy: Engineers at work

Kavitha Kushalappa
First Published : 09 Jul 2009 09:22:18 AM IST
Last Updated : 09 Jul 2009 09:28:44 AM IST

BANGALORE: In what is a definitive measure towards exploring the possibility of the revival of the Arkavathy river, an engineering survey of the river course is learnt to be under way under the aegis of the Cauvery Neeravari Nigam.

The nearly 500 km network of streams, sub-streams and tanks falling between the river’s origin in Nandi Hills and the Hessarghatta Tank marks the first phase of the four-part survey, official sources said. A team of 20 engineers from the Water Resources department have been at work since mid-June, and about 75 km of the river’s network has been covered as of today,they said.

The public outcry for the revival of River Arkavathy which was long the voice of non-governmental bodies, earned the attention of the elected representatives at the state level early this year. A meeting of MLAs from among the assembly segments orginally traversed by Arkavathy in its 190 km lap from Nandi Hills in Doddaballapur to Sangam in Ramanagaram had pushed for a River Arkavathy Revival Authority. In response, the State government provided a budgetary allocation of Rs 2 crore for the preparation of a detailed project report (DPR) on the revival of River Arkavathy.

Aptly then, officials who are part of the just initiated survey told Express that it is too early to talk of revival or recovery of the river. “As per the toposheet (topographic sheet) available with us, the number of the tanks that originally dotted the river from Nandi Hills to Hessarghatta was anywhere between 180 and 220,” an official said. Technically it is a cross-sectional survey -- the width, depth and current of the stream is being assessed at every 300 meters to 500 meters, and the alignment of the course is being mapped, it was explained.

In their first peek at the origin point, the surveyors are reportedly seeing much of everything the activists have always sought to highlight -- afforestation (read eucalyputus here), cultivation of other crops and encroachments by way of construction activity.

While much of the work is being done by the Water Resources Department, the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board will pitch in during the survey around the Tippegondanahalli tank area, officials said. “We need about 10weeks to compete the first phase work,” said an engineer noting that much of it depends on weather and site conditions and that conventional electronic equipment is being used in the field survey.

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