Bengaluru: The Bellandur and Varthur lakes, which gained infamy for breaking out in a froth when it rains, are to get a fresh lease of life. At least that’s the idea. The Karnataka government has finally floated tenders to clean up the lakes, at a cost of Rs 365 crore.
The cleanup of the 903-acre Bellandur lake is to cost Rs 245.89 crore of taxpayer money while Varthur (445 acres) will cost Rs 119 crore.
The conditions laid down in the tender documents make it mandatory for vehicles carrying away silt from these water bodies to have GPS facilities, and there will be CCTV cameras set up around the lakes to monitor the desilting activity.
This is meant to arrest the tendency of contractors to inflate the amount of silt they remove and dump it at places where they shouldn’t.
But Bengaluru’s green activists say a lot more needs to be done and are demanding to see the blueprints of the initiative. Environment expert A N Yellappa Reddy says an environment impact assessment should have been done before floating the tender to ascertain the impact of dumping slurry and silt.
“Slurry is full of methane, and dumping it at quarries may contaminate the ground water. It can prove deadly. Even if it is converted into manure for agriculture purposes, the chemical composition must be ascertained and treated before using it," he said.
Bellandur lake is one of the most polluted lakes in Bengaluru. Most of the city’s treated and untreated sewage is discharged into it. Increased residential and commercial activities around it have resulted in silt deposition in the lake, affecting groundwater recharge.
Water in both Bellandur and Varthur is laced with heavy metals and harmful chemicals, which has caused damage to groundwater and the local ecology....