BENGALURU: Two separate areas in the buffer zone of Bellandur lake caught fire on Thursday, and were put out by marshals patrolling the lake, saving the area from a major disaster.
Marshals who put out the fires said they were either started by miscreants or occurred due to the carelessness of locals. One of the fires was behind Sobha apartments around 3pm, and the other, of a smaller magnitude, was in the ST Bed area around 5 pm.
One of the marshals who patrol the lake said one of their members noticed the fire and put it out with help from locals. “Dry grass had caught fire in the buffer zone of the lake. However, it is difficult to know if it was an intentional act,” the marshal said. He said cattle-grazers in the vicinity of the lake sometimes set fire to dry grass so that new grass grows in its place for their cattle. Careless acts such as throwing away lit cigarette butts could also have caused the fires, he said.
Sonali Singh, a resident of Bellandur, said she had requested BDA officials to provide fire-fighting equipment to the marshals. “The fires could be deliberate acts as the elections are approaching and so certain people might try to create problems. The marshals should be prepared. Today they had to put out the fire without any equipment,” she said. Singh also expressed concern that the fire was close to Sobha apartments.
Several incidents of fire have occurred within the lake and in its buffer zone. The lake had once caught fire in January 2018, and prior to that once each in the previous three years. Marshals were deployed at the lake this year to prevent such fires.
BDA Commissioner Rakesh Singh appreciated the Marshals efforts and also warned them to look out for people who could start such fires. “This looks like a deliberate attempt to light fire. We had a major fire last year which was later called out man-made. Please keep watch for fire lighting for political reasons,” the Commissioner’s message to a marshal stated.