BENGALURU: The Principal Bench of National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Wednesday pulled up BBMP, BWSSB and KSPCB officers, saying it is inclined to file criminal cases against them for dereliction of duty and not taking care of Bellandur Lake.
"People must not be suffering because of the slothful behaviour of officials," it said. The crux of Wednesday's hearing was the accountability of officers. The tribunal asked what work has been done to address issues surrounding Bellandur Lake. It reprimanded the officers, saying the inaction and lame excuses of unavailability of cost, resources and technical glitches are not justifiable. The infamous Bellandur Lake, which had attracted headlines nationally for catching fire twice in less than five years, is yet to see rejuvenation work.
The NGT is hearing a suo motu case from February 2017 in which Namma Bengaluru Foundation is an impleader, while BBMP, BDA, BWSSB and KSPCB are respondents. For almost three years now, the NGT has been giving directions to officials at every hearing, most of which are not adhered to.
Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said Bengaluru has so many lake experts and people are good, but the government is not interested in taking help from them in protecting water bodies.
Justice Goel was unhappy that the officers are delaying building STPs and pulled up BWSSB Chairman Tushar Girinath for seeking two more years to build the STPs, while the experts said it can be done in nine months.
The NGT asked the state government to complete the STP construction in nine months to prevent entry of sewage water into the lake. By September 2020, the work on STPs should be completed, it said.
During the hearing, Mr Harish Kumar, General Manager, Namma Bengaluru Foundation, said, "We seek that a particular officer must be accountable for a particular activity in a particular timeframe. If the experts say that sewage flow can be stopped in 9 months and BWSSB has asked for two more years (by 2022), it only shows the lack of interest and unaccountability of BWSSB in solving this issue. The Accountability needs to be sorted, else we will not get things fixed inside a timeframe."