British firm offers to clean Bellandur lake; Bengaluru residents bat for local solutions

Residents question the need to bring in a foreign agency despite the presence of multiple local authorities

Published: 25th March 2017 06:56 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th March 2017 06:56 AM   |  A+A-

British officials, Israeli consulate officials and other foreign delegates inspect Bellandur lake along with the KSIIDC chairman in Bengaluru on Friday | pushkar v

By Express News Service

BENGALURU: Foreign agencies are showing interest in the resolving the Bellandur lake issue. A proposal was presented by a UK-based firm along with KSIIDC (Karnataka State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corp Ltd) chairman Dhananjay to minister R V Deshpande after an inspection of the lake on Friday. 

However, residents question the need to bring in a foreign agency despite the presence of multiple local authorities like BDA, BWSSB and so on.

At a press conference held late afternoon, members of the team which had visited the lake made a presentation to Large and Medium Scale Industries and Infrastructure Development Minister Deshpande. They proposed for KSIIDC to become the nodal agency for the restoration of Bellandur Lake. Deshpande then said the proposal needed a clearance from the central government as per protocol.

Bluewater Bio, a British firm, has offered to build a 200 MLD Sewage Treatment Plant (STP). They said the UK government has offered to lend 85 per cent of the funding required for the STP, which can be repaid after six months at an interest rate of 2.36 per cent. 
A source from Deshpande’s office said, “The experts from UK came to the state to study water issues. The KSIIDC chief wanted to use their expertise to resolve the Bellandur mess. However, their presentation did not provide any in-depth solution for the lake, but rather showcased their technical know-how.

Besides, involving a foreign agency and bringing foreign investment needs a lot of formalities, procedures and approvals. If they are serious about taking up the issue, they have to come through the proper channels with a concrete solution. Only then we can think about it.”

Why involve foreign agencies: Residents
Meanwhile, residents fear the government is trying to turn the Bellandur issue into an emergency situation to avoid a tendering process and come up with another expensive project. 

Ram Prasad from Friends of Lake said, “The foreign agency is definitely here to do business. All that the authorities have to do is make sure treated water gets into the lake. How difficult is it? Why can’t our own agencies do it?”

Voicing similar opinion, Seema Sarma, a resident of Bellandur said, “We feel it is a big scam. The government has got great recommendations from Prof T V Ramachandra of the Indian Institute of Science. Instead of doing checks and balances, they are bringing foreign delegations. Tons of waste is dumped and burnt and unauthorised drilling of borewells takes place here. A foreign delegation cannot curb these activities, only our own authorities can do it.”

Activist Sandeep Anirudhan said there was no need to build an STP to restore the lake and the solution was much simpler. He said if the authorities diverted the sewage entering the lake, the lake would be restored.

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