BENGALURU: A committee constituted by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) visited Bellandur and Varthur lakes on Saturday and has set a deadline for Bengaluru Development Authority officials to desilt the water bodies.
Committee members told The New Indian Express that they have set the deadline for the desilting of the two lakes for May, even though the NGT had earlier said the work should be completed by September.
The two lakes are spread out over 1,200 acres and only around 60 per cent of the area has been desilted.
Committee members took Bengaluru Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) officials to task for allowing untreated water to flow into Bellandur lake while the Challaghatta sewage treatment plant is not functioning.
This has prevented the lakes from drying up completely, despite the construction of diversion drains, and has delayed the desilting process. By February end, the two lakes should completely dry up and allow the desilting work to resume. The committee directed the government take up the work on a speedy basis. The channels or drain works should be completed in a week’s time.
“We are also satisfied that the defence personnel have agreed to let state government agencies undertake civil works in their part of Bellandur lake. This will now help to speed up the works,” a committee member said.Water and soil samples have also been collected by the NGT committee and Karnataka State Pollution Control Board officials to check for and identify heavy metals or pollutants,” a the member added.Although the Bengaluru Development Authority (BDA) has invited tenders for desilting of the lakes and transportation of silt, BDA officials have expressed concerns over transportation of silt in a time-bound manner.
It is estimated that six million cubic metres of silt would be removed from Bellandur lake and 3.5-4 cubic million metres of silt from Varthur lake.The committee member said that if 300- 500 truck loads of silt are removed and transported every night, the BDA could meet the NGT’s deadline for desilting the two lakes.