Ten years ago on this day, four people were waiting at the sub-registrar’s office in JP Nagar to get a trust deed registered. Along with them, two others, who were to sign as witnesses. Usha, Prasanna and OP Ramaswamy (who I pulled in just that morning), Sripriya and Vardhana, along with me.
We were well prepared. I had drafted the trust deed myself with inputs from others (incl Ashwin Mahesh who was instrumental in the formation of PNLIT), and had it checked by a lawyer. I also made a visit to the sub-registrar’s office a couple of days earlier to get the document reviewed by the office clerks. Carefully printed it at home, and took it along with all the papers that the clerks had told us to bring. Despite all this, given the reputation that the sub-registrar offices have, it would be wrong to say that we were not worried about being put in an uncomfortable spot at some stage. It took but an hour or so. We were done… mugshots, signatures and all, and with the satisfaction that it was a “clean” effort. Puttenahalli Neighbourhood Lake Improvement Trust (PNLIT) was born! In no time, we had decided on a logo, made a facebook page and started building a website; opened a bank account, applied for PAN and started doing whatever was necessary for tax exemption purposes.
Within a few weeks of forming the trust, along with the municipality (BBMP), we organised a tree planting drive at the lake. Restoration work by the BBMP had already begun by that time, but there was still much to be done. It was just before the monsoons, and the best time to plant. We did not want to lose a year.
These are pictures taken on 17th July 2010. Gives one an idea of what the place looked like, and the activity on that day. It was a one of a kind event in the area. Our local MLA, corporator, BBMP officials and other well wishers were all there to give their touches. There were residents from the neighbourhood, including many children, all eager to plant trees. Indeed, there was quite a crowd.
We had our first donation drive, money that went towards one gardener’s salary – to tend to the new plants, and one security guard – to ensure, among other things, that the cows that frequented the place didn’t eat up the plants.
The children in these pictures would be all grownup now, just like the saplings that were planted that day. And the place as a whole looks very different.
From 4 in 2010, we are now 7 trustees (Nupur, Sangita, Divya, Nandhini added, less Prasanna and a few others who served short terms) with a number of volunteers, and growing. Can’t believe that I’ve been away from Bangalore for nine years now, yet, thanks to technology, I’m still closely involved with PNLIT’s administration.
While the rejuvenation and maintenance of Puttenahalli Lake in JP Nagar 7th Phase is the primary focus, the trust is also involved in activities which impact the betterment of the neighbourhood – such as environmental sensitivity, education support, local problem-solving, waste management, promotion of cloth bags and recycled products, supporting local businesses. We are extending help to those in need during the Covid-19 pandemic too.
Nupur and her husband Pranshu put together this nice video that tells the story of PNLIT over the last 10 years. The challenges faced in the restoration and upkeep of public spaces such as lakes and parks are many. It’s a tough ride.
To know more, do visit the website www.puttenahallilake.in.