BENGALURU: Till last week, the residents of village in , 400km from Bengaluru, were boasting about their lake which was brimming with water after nearly two decades. But now there’s a twist in the tale. The villagers want to drain out water from the 22-acre waterbody. The reason: The water, according to them, has become impure after an elderly woman was found dead.
The villagers had deployed high-capacity pumps at several points around the lake to suck the water out and, in the past three days, have managed to pump out lakhs of litres of water. A 60-year-old woman was found dead in the lake last week and the locals believe the water is not good for the village. Huyilagola Lake is the main source of water for people and cattle in five villages surrounding it.

On Saturday, the Gadag district administration swung into action. It organised a meeting with the villagers and convinced them to suspend the operations.

Eeranna Matada, a resident of Huyilgola, said the lake could be a haunted property as the dead woman’s ‘spirit’ is floating like fish. When asked whether he could prove his claim, the 40-year-old said: “Asking such questions leads to a curse.”

“Don’t you clean the water of your rooftop tank if a lizard or a bird drowns in it? Similarly, we decided to clean the lake after the woman’s body was found in it,” , another villager, said.

The villagers are now using water from a few ponds for drinking and other purposes.

“At least 10 pumps of 10HP to 40HP capacity were seen pumping out the water. It was a painful sight, but we’re helpless,” Neelavva, a homemaker, said.

Sources said a few villagers, who were worried about a large quantity of water being wasted, alerted the authorities. “Nothing would have happened to the water in such a massive lake after a person’s death. Several people drown in rivers, yet they are revered. We understand that it needs courage to oppose such beliefs. But that doesn’t mean that one should sit idle and watch pumps drying out a lake that’s filled up after two decades,” said Sharan Patil, a villager.

Gadag deputy commissioner Manoj Jain, who visited the spot on Saturday, said convincing the villagers was a challenging task. “Water is important, so are the feelings of the villagers. I knew I had to stop water from being pumped out somehow and I managed it after a two-hour interaction with them. We told them that to test the water quality, the samples have been sent to a laboratory and the report is expected by Monday or Tuesday. After receiving it, we’ll hold another meeting with them to decide the future course of action,” he added.

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