BENGALURU: Residents near Bellandur and Varthur lakes pressed for time-bound and fast-track implementation of the Expert Committee Report in a two-hour meeting with Bengaluru Development Minister K J George and civic body officials. This comes after a fire broke out at Bellandur lake on January 20 and was doused only after almost 32 hours. Residents demanded that certain actions be taken up immediately such as fencing of the lake, cleaning and development of wetlands. They also want appointment of lake wardens by Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Authority (KLCDA), removal of encroachments and to shut illegal waste processing units around the lakes. The timeline for these was set to be before the next quarter.
At the meeting, George said the cause of Friday’s fire was being investigated, but he believed that certain miscreants had started the fire. He also gave an update on the action taken till now and agreed to share a report that was submitted to National Green Tribunal (NGT) with the residents. He talked about setting up slew gates to control stagnation of dirty water in the lake.
Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) Chairman Tushar Girinath, who also attended the meeting, told The New Indian Express, “In Vrishabhavathi Valley, we are dismantling a lot of structures and making a sewage treatment plant (STP) of 150 MLD capacity. The old STP is in a bad shape.”
Currently, out of 500 MLD of sewage entering Bellandur lake, 340 MLD is being treated. Another STP of 150 MLD capacity is scheduled to be completed by 2020, Girinath said. At the meeting, he instructed KLCDA to start work on setting up wetlands in the lake.
He also told residents that they would do away with mega projects and building smaller STPs for lakes. Post the meeting, Sonali Singh, a resident near Bellandur lake, said, “Girinath is committed to building STPs at Iblur lake and also for Parappanna Agrahara Central Prison, from where untreated waste has been entering a lake. We have come out feeling hopeful, and the follow-up actions will tell us more.”
A resident who attended the meeting said such assurances had been made earlier too by the authorities, which had translated to actions. “However, this time, the minister said he would hold the officers accountable and has also agreed to hold a follow-up meeting next month. So we are hopeful,” the resident said.
NGT summons Additional Chief Secretary
Following the fire at Bellandur lake, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) summoned Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Urban Development, Mahendra Jain, on Wednesday. The tribunal specified that Jain must be personally present.
500 million litres of sewage water enters Bellandur lake every day
340 MLD is treated150 MLD capacity STP will be completed by 2020