Bengaluru: Civic bodies have been shaken out of their slumber after a scathing order from the National Green Tribunal (NGT), and have swung into action to save the dying Bellandur Lake. On Monday, the Bengaluru Development Authority (BDA), which is the custodian of the water body, said that deweeding has begun at the lake.
P.N. Nayak, engineer member, Bengaluru Development Authority, told Deccan Chronicle, "We had invited tenders to deweed the entire lake. Harvesting Engineers Pvt Ltd has been awarded the contract for Rs 3.35 crore."
On the timeframe to complete the work, he said, "It is not an easy task to weed out the entire lake. It takes 6-7 months to complete the task, but we have asked the contractor to get the work done in at least four months." While this was the official claim, Elangovan, a resident of Bellandur, said that deweeding did not begin on Monday.
KSPCB yet to receive NGT order copy
Six days after the National Green Tribunal ordered civic bodies to shut industries polluting Bellandur Lake, the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board on Monday said that it is yet to receive the NGT order copy.
On the action taken by the pollution board after the NGT order, Mr Shantakumar, member secretary, KSPCB, said, "We are yet to receive the order copy. We will take the needed action."
He, however, maintained that 11 highly polluting industries on Bellandur Valley were served notices prior to the National Green Tribunal order.
KSPCB sources said that the joint inspection committee, which has government and KSPCB officials as members, will be formed to inspect the polluting industries after receiving the NGT order copy.
NBF exposes encroachment
Members of the Namma Bengaluru Foundation (NBF), a petitioner in the case before NGT, on Monday visited Bellandur Amanikere and were surprised at the extent of encroachment at the primary Rajakaluve (stormwater drain).
"Rajakaluve has not been clearly demarcated despite an order by the NGT on May 4, 2016. Dumping of mud and construction debris is continuing for the last 10 days. On Saturday night alone, about 40 loads of mud and debris were dumped illegally," said NBF chief Sridhar Pabbisetty.
"It is sad that debris is being dumped at Bellandur Amanikere and NBF is deeply anguished by the approach of the state agencies, in spite of the NGT order," he said.
"The fundamental questions remain. Why Bellandur and Varthur lakes have not been fenced? Why is the Rajakaluve not identified? Why the buffer zones of 75 metre for lakes and 50 metre for primary Rajkaluve not established? How long will it take for the agencies to implement these simple protective measures? Authorities should immediately implement the NGT order and take strict action against the encroachers," he said. Mr Nayak said that 70 percent of the lake has been fenced, but passed the buck to BBMP, saying it was the duty of BBMP to fence it.