BENGALURU: Members of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) monitoring committee were in for a rude shock on Monday when engineers from the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) told them that they do not know the exact width and length of the storm water drains to Bellandur and Varthur lakes. “There is a need to verify the revenue department records”, the engineers said.
The review meeting to assess the progress of the ongoing works at the two prime water bodies of Bengaluru, called by committee, had more surprises, even for citizens who attended the meeting. A senior BBMP engineer said told the committee members that the drains connecting the water bodies could be irrigation canals. The engineers were also sceptical of the extent of encroachment on the rajakaluves and the water bodies.
Not impressed by the responses, the committee directed the BBMP engineers to get all the revenue records of all the rajakaluves and drains connecting the lakes and the extent of encroachment, in person, at the next meeting on November 20. The committee also decided to visit the lake sites to take stock of the ground situation, before the next meeting.
Citizens attending the meeting were baffled by the statements of the government officials. It was left to them to explain to the committee the extent of the drains and also the extent of encroachment. They also pointed to the areas where civil works were done and yet there was flooding because of reduction in width of the drains.The BDA engineers stated that they had cleared around 92 per cent of silt from Varthur lake and around 77 per cent from Bellandur. The committee was alarmed as that meant so much of silt was accumulated on the lake beds.
Silt for levelling land
A UDD official said that they were in talks with defence and private land owners having undulating plains to take the silt for levelling the land.
“The defence department is keen on procuring sand from other places. We are in talks with them to take the silt. Even if they take 30 per cent, the burden of transportation and cost management will come down,” the official told the NGT at the meeting.