Bengaluru: Following the recent foam menace and fire at Varthur and Bellandur lakes respectively, Upa Lokayukta Subash.B.Adi met the officials from various government agencies in the city on Thursday.
During the meeting, the BWSSB Chief Engineer Venkataraju informed Mr Adi that massive foam in these lakes was a result of large quantity of industry effluents, chemicals and other minerals entering the water bodies. He said that most of the storm water drains connecting both the lakes have been blatantly encroached upon.
“As a result, free flow of water from Agara lake to Bellandur, Bellandur to Varthur and downstream is choked. Large quantity of foam formation takes place at narrow storm water area,” Raju submitted in a report to the Upa Lokayukta.
According to the report, there are 17 in-let points to Bellandur lake, out of which five are functional only during rainy season and treated water enters the lake through two inlets. It further said that in Nagasandra slum, Nagasandra Colony, Ibbalur, Agaram, Agaram Pump House and Shanivagilu tank bed and Koramangala the treatment plant works were in progress.
Mr Venkataraju further said that to set up water treatment plants at the inlets connecting Bellandur and Varthur lakes it would cost a whopping Rs 1,000 crore and state government’s sanction was needed. The report also said that effluents from 110 villages and more than 500 industries situated around Varthur and Bellandur lakes were entering the lakes.
Bengaluru Urban deputy commissioner V.Shankar informed the Upa Lokayukta that the survey of Bellandur (919 acres) and Varthur lake (448 acres) was in progress and would be completed in 15 days. BDA chief engineer said that both the lakes were partially fenced, and after the encroachments are removed it they would be fenced completely.
Treated water not being used
During the occasion, environment activist Nagesh said that most of the apartments who had installed sewage treatment plants on their premises were not fully utilizing the treated water.
“About 50 per cent of the water is let into the storm water drain, which eventually enters the lake. Also, the STPs used by BWSSB and apartment complexes will not reduce water pollution level as the nitrate and phosphorous continues to remain even in treated water. Neither is it fit for consumption nor flora and fauna. The phosphorous and nitrate in the water results in algae formation, affecting the aquatic life,” he said.
The Upa Lokayukta directed officials from Urban Development department, Lake Development Authority, BDA, BBMP, BWSSB, and KSPCB to appear for a hearing on June 4.
BDA houses for those hit by demolition?
The State government is contemplating to allot BDA houses to the victims, whose houses were demolished during recent drive to clear lake encroachment in Bengaluru city. Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy, also in charge of Bengaluru district, told reporters on Thursday that he had written a letter to the Chief Minister in this regard and he had responded positively over the proposal.
“In my opinion, land grabbers and officials, who cooperated them in encroaching lake beds should be punished. However, those who lost houses were innocent victims of this nexus. There is a need for the government to respond to these victims and allot them the houses,” Mr Reddy noted in his letter. The Minister said that the Deputy Commissioner would be asked to give a list of houses demolished during the recent drive.
The government would take a decision after the DC gives the report, he added. Answering a question, Mr Reddy said that it would be difficult to say if the demolition drive has to be continued or not, till the House Committee looking into the issue submits its report. The government was forced to take up the drive in the wake of A.T. Ramaswamy and Balasubrahmanyam reports and subsequent PIL filed in the Karnataka High Court and another case before the Lokayukta.