Bangalore: Ulsoor dig unearthing 1,200-year-old pond

BANGALORE: The excavation site of a kalyani (pond) in Ulsoor is a rather happening place. Not long ago, it was just an encroached patch of craggy land. With 20 feet of earth removed, the ten-day excavation is finally close to uncovering the 1,200-year-old kalyani (pond) closed by the British over a century ago.

Neglected for decades, it’s now the centre of attention of a huge crowd which looks on eagerly through the day. “We knew there was a kalyani but none of us have seen it. The steps around the pond were hidden!’’ an excited Jayanti, who has been living on the same lane for 25 years, told TOI on Thursday.

Even old-timers like Yuvraj, who stays right next to the site, didn’t know about the pond till excavation started at 9.10 am on April 19. “We’re happy that the kalyani is finally in sight. I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that the digging doesn’t extend to my house,’’ he said.

There are rumours aplenty of valuable treasures and artefacts being unearthed and that’s drawing people from all over, giving police a tough time. “It’s hard to keep them away. The crowd starts coming in at 8 am and stays patiently till evening. Many women bring their children along and in their excitement, they forget about their kids who wander all over,’’ said an officer.

Temple trustee S Gunashekhar said the excavation has also attracted many outstation visitors. “Many people are coming here from far-off places like Mysore and Tamil Nadu,’’ he said.

There are no records but legend has it that this pond (belonging to the ancient Someshwara temple, the oldest temple in the Mandavya Kshetra) was closed down by the British almost 150 years ago as the tank had dried up.

The excavation struck water at 20 ft and the pond could be at 42 ft. “We don’t have any records about this pond, not even its physical dimensions. We’re eagerly awaiting the findings of the dig based on the survey conducted by the BBMP, muzrai department and Survey of India,’’ V Govindaraj, organising committee president of the temple, told TOI. The rejuvenation exercise is estimated to cost about Rs 4.5 crore.

Some old-timers recall there was a dairy on this plot some time ago but it was shut down in 1992. The cows and a few sheds continued to remain. There was also a small veterinary clinic here, but it faded away over time.

History has it….
There are no records but legend has it that this pond (belonging to the ancient Someshwara temple, the oldest temple in the Mandavya Kshetra) was closed down by the British almost 150 years ago as the tank had dried up. Some old-timers recall there was a dairy on this plot some time ago but it was shut down in 1992

From TOI

200 kg of fish found dead in Ooty Lake

Udhagamandalam: A large number of fish were found dead in the Ooty Lake on Wednesday.

Even as it triggered considerable speculation among various sections of society here, Assistant Director of Fisheries Eashwaran told The Hindu that investigation to determine the cause had commenced.

It is suspected that sudden heavy inflow of storm water from the Kodappamund channel had made the water in the lake turbid.

Fish lying dead in the Ooty lake on Wednesday. — Photo: M. Sathyamoorthy

It had led to depletion of oxygen resulting in the fish suffocating.

Pointing out that the dead fish weighed about 200 kg, he said that all of them belonged to the common carp variety. They were buried later.

Samples of soil, water and dead fish have been sent to the Fisheries College and Research Institute, Tuticorin for analysis.


Ooty Lake to get a facelift

Udhagamandalam: A proposal to enhance the beauty of the Ooty Lake at an estimated cost of Rs. 8 crores is under consideration, said Khadi Board Minister K. Ramachandran while participating in the valedictory function of the first Autumn Festival cum Tea and Tourism Carnival held here on Wednesday.

Stating that about 20 acres are available around the lake, he said that a beautification plan would be placed before the Deputy Chief Minister, M.K. Stalin, when he visits this hill station during December. He added that various other places including the Pykara lake would be made more attractive.

Urging the people to zealously nurture the tea and tourism industries which are taking care of the Nilgiris district, Mr. Ramachandran described the sectors as the two eyes of the district and observed that if either one is affected the consequences would be serious.

Adverting to the crisis in the tea industry which had lasted for about ten years, he said that thanks to the steps taken by the government things have been looking up for some time now and workers also are getting good wages.

He acknowledged the enthusiasm being displayed by the Nilgiris Collector Anandrao V. Patil and the Executive Director, Tea Board, R.D. Nazeem, in taking the benefits of various schemes to the people.

Referring to the acute shortage of labour, the Minister said that tea harvesting machines should be made available by the Tea Board and the Department of Horticulture at 50 per cent subsidy.

Presiding over the function, Mr. Patil said the credit for the runaway success of the five-day Autumn Festival cum Tea and Tourism Carnival which had been organised by the district administration along with the Department of Tourism, the Tea Board, and the Nilgiri Hotels and Restaurants Association (NHRA) should go to the people of the district.

The jamboree which had kicked off the Autumn Festival will become a regular feature.

Mr.Nazeem said that the objective of organising such events is to promote consumption of tea among the younger generation.

B. Gopalan, MLA, said that quality consciousness has become more among the tea growers now thanks to the efforts of the Tea Board.

The District Revenue Officer, S. Kuppusamy, welcomed the gathering.

Mr. Ramachandran distributed prizes to those who had excelled in various competitions organised as part of the event.


Thanjavur: Kallaperambur lake gets a facelift

There is a proposal for declaring the lake a bird sanctuary: Minister

THANJAVUR: The Grand Anicut Canal and the Kallaperambur lake in the district have been given a facelift utilising funds sanctioned under the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund of the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).

While modernisation of the canal had been done on a major scale using Rs. 250 crore from the fund, the lake had been improved using Rs.4.27 crore.

After desilting, strengthening of bunds and improvements to the inlet Ananda Cauvery channel, water was now being stored to the tank’s full capacity of 1.25 metres.

The channel had been desilted to a distance of 22 km and a retaining wall constructed at Ayanavaram where the canal used to breach during floods every year.

Eight sluices along the canal had been renovated.

“The lake was losing its water retention capacity due to silt. We could take up samba transplantation in this area this time easily,” said farmers from Kallaperambur, Thennankudi, Seeralur and Sakkarasamandham, who were benefited by the lake. The lake had an ayacut of 6,004 acres.

Union Minister of State for Finance S. S. Palani Manickam recently visited the lake along with PWD engineers who executed the work.

There was a proposal for declaring the lake a bird sanctuary as many winged visitors arrived here.

According to Thirunavukarasu, Wildlife Warden, Nagapattinam, 35 species of birds visited the lake. They include Open Bill Stork, three types of egrets, darter, cormorants, White Ibis, ducks, teals, Grey Heron, Pond Heron and pelicans.

Protection watchers

“Declaration of the lake as a bird sanctuary has to be done by the Government. Now we are appointing two bird protection watchers,” Mr. Thirunavukarasu said. Improvements executed by the PWD would help attract more winged visitors.

Tourism: Safety measures stepped up in Ooty lake

Boating sans life jacket will not be permitted, says Minister

Udhagamandalam: Consequent to the recent Thekkady boat tragedy in which several lives were lost, safety measures have been stepped up in the Ooty lake, according to the Khadi Board Minister, K. Ramachandran.

Speaking to reporters here on Wednesday, the Minister who is in charge of the Nilgiris district said that henceforth boating sans life jackets will not be permitted. Pointing out that there were now about 75 jackets, he said that orders have been placed for 500 more.

Inspection: The Khadi Board Minister, K. Ramachandran, at the Ooty lake on Wednesday. — Photo: M. Sathyamoorthy

Inspection: The Khadi Board Minister, K. Ramachandran, at the Ooty lake on Wednesday. — Photo: M. Sathyamoorthy

In view of the second season which is now in progress and the proposed autumn festival later this month, instructions have been issued to improve the surroundings of the lake.

Pointing out that various agencies like the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC), the Municipality, the Public Works Department and the Forest Department are now taking care of different aspects of the lake and the boat house, he said that efforts would be made to put in place a coordinating machinery with the approval of the Deputy Chief Minister, M.K. Stalin, who is likely to be here during the first week of December.

Stating that under a beautification scheme footpaths extending over about 250 metres had been laid along the far end of the lake, Mr. Ramachandran said that during the second phase it would be extended by 400 metres. Simultaneously landscaping is being done by the Department of Horticulture. The total income of the Ooty lake now is about Rs. 3.50 crore.

The Davis Park, the Subash Chandra Bose Park and the park near Central bus stand created by the civic administration at a total cost of Rs. 55 lakh would be thrown open to the public on November 5.

Earlier, Mr. Ramachandran inspected various works being carried out in the lake. Among those who accompanied him were the Coonoor MLA, A. Soundarapandian, and the Chairman, Udhagamandalam Municipal Council, R. Rajendran.