BENGALURU: People who reside near Bellandur Lake say that the fire at the lake which broke out on Friday morning couldn’t have possibly started on its own, and was the handiwork of someone. Officials of Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), including Commissioner Rakesh Singh, visited the lake on Sunday.
They spoke to some residents who claimed it was not possible for the fire to start on its own. “Even throwing a matchstick into the vegetation might not work as the wind will extinguish it, so they would have kept a lit paper to set fire to it,” a local said.
Singh said that the cause of the fire will be established by KSPCB as BDA did not have the in-house required expertise. “We will not draw inferences until facts are established. Even if what they are saying is true, the fact remains that there is something in the lake that made the fire burn for so long. The lake has been contaminated for 5-6 decades. It has to be cleaned up which is a massive affair — both economically and with respect to the machinery required,” he added.
Officials noticed smoke still emanating from a couple of spots in the area on Sunday.
RESIDENTS, ACTIVISTS TO MEET GEORGE
Residents of areas around Bellandur and Varthur lakes as well as activists and environmentalists from the city will hold a meeting with Bengaluru Development Minister K J George on Monday to discuss the rejuvenation of Bellandur Lake.
Residents of both the apartments and the village around the lake will present their case at the meeting which will be attended by officials of BWSSB, BDA, BBMP and Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Authority. Residents claim that the civic bodies had covered up their inaction by questioning the report prepared by the expert committee.
Nagesh Urs, one of the residents, said, “Harvesting of macrophytes (aquatic plants) at specific locations was suggested in the report but they took up weeding, which is, in fact, harmful for the lake,” he said. He added that the government had not shown them any planning for other solutions suggested by the report, including desilting.