Despite the determined efforts by the people, citizen groups and the National Green Tribuna (NGT) to ensure protection and rejuvenation of Bellandur lake over the last five years, the unpardonable lethargy of the state government and its agencies unfortunately continues. The findings by the NGT appointed committee exposes the gross inadequacy of the state government's initiatives.
Although a government appointed committee gave a comprehensive action plan, listing both short and long term initiatives to protect the lake way back in November 2016, the previous administration unfortunately acted grossly in deviance, both in letter and spirit of this holistic and well deliberated report. The government also did not bother about the NGT’s additional directions given after it took suo moto cognizance of the massive fire in Bellanduru lake in February 2017.
The Namma Bengaluru Foundation , which impleaded in the case before the NGT, demanded that a court appointed committee should verify the claims made by the government and its agencies. This resulted in the NGT appointing a committee of its own , which has given a scathing report on the lakes, slamming the irresponsibility of the previous government.
In addition to all these challenges, Varthur lake has had to suffer an illegal road being built on it by the dumping of C&D waste under the pretext of laying a pipeline, which was not approved of by the Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Authority, the agency meant to protect and regulate our lakes.
We urge the new government in Karnataka to learn from the findings of this NGT appointed committee and ensure that the tribunal’s directions and the recommendations of the expert committee for rejuvenation of Bellandur and Varthur lakes are implemented in right earnest.
After his recent visit to the lake, the new Bengaluru Development Minister, Dr. G. Parameshwar, will hopefully convene a meeting of the expert committee at the earliest and do a thorough review of the lapses, fix accountability on the various agencies and introduce a monthly review of action proposed and tasks undertaken.
Unless this government learns from the colossal mistakes of the last administration and sets things right, our city’s biggest lakes will continue to remain septic tanks and a living public health hazard.
— Sridhar Pabbisetty, CEO, Namma Bengaluru Foundation