140-year-old well choked with waste in Bengaluru park gets new lease of life


Express News Service

BENGALURU: A defunct 140-year-old well dumped with all kinds of waste inside the Richmond Town Park has been given a new lease of life this fortnight. It is brimming with clean water, freshly painted and has a pulley to draw the water. The restoration was a joint effort by the SayTrees Environment Trust, Citizens Welfare Association here, corporate funding and, of course, the painstaking work undertaken by well diggers.

With 25 years of professional experience behind him, Ramakrishnappa K R, who led a team of well diggers to carry out the tough task, spoke to The New Indian Express on the 12-day cleaning exercise undertaken by him and four others earlier this month.

“The well was filled with garbage, broken glass, weeds, bottles, plastic, bedsheets and even a bed thrown inside. We got in using ropes and protective gear and sent all the slush and waste up in buckets. We had to use ropes to take the bed outside. The group accompanying me found the stench inside very tough to handle initially,” he says.   

The well is historical in nature as the establishment of the Richmond Town by the British dates back to the 1880s, says Madhusudhan H V Iyengar, Programme Manager for Water Bodies at SayTrees. “It really helps to restore open wells as they yield water at depth of 40 to 60 feet unlike borewells that even go as deep at 1000 feet. After the cleaning was done, the surroundings were cleaned, the well was disinfected by adding calcium carbonate and the water was treated using potassium Permanganate and Alum. Within two days of completion, it had clean water,” he explained.

After the well was restored, it was also provided a good old wooden pulley and a motor so that water from it can be drawn out. Refinitiv, a part of the London Stock Exchange Group, offered funds through its CSR initiatives.

President of Citizen Welfare Association, Langford Town and Richmond Town, Vivek M B Chand, said the well must have been in this condition for at least 15 years. “It was hardly noticed by anyone in this park packed with walkers, joggers and kids. Someone in our association took the initiative and approached SayTrees to see if it could be revived. A splendid job has been done now. We are soon looking at using this water for all our gardening needs inside the park,” he said.

Water Sustainability Researcher ‘Zenrainman’ S Vishwanath said, “An inventory of open wells in Bengaluru needs to be carried out and steps taken to revive them. This will help the city enormously.”

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