Bengaluru: Residents irked as polluted lakes’ restoration remains to be in limbo

Bengaluru civic bodies have yet again missed the deadlines to complete restoration works of polluted lakes Bellandur and Varthur.

BySaurav Kumar

Published Jul 02, 2022 | 4:38 PMUpdatedJul 23, 2022 | 11:05 AM

Bellandur lake

Citizens of Bengaluru are piqued as restoration works of two of the city’s most polluted lakes, Bellandur and Varthur, have not taken off six years after the job civic bodies were assigned the task.

Jagadish Reddy, a member of a citizen group Varthur Rising, told South First that two significant deadlines to implement long-pending works for lake restoration have lapsed in the past few years.

Reddy said the deadline for completing works was 31 March this year, and it was not met.

Solution pending since 2016

According to a study published in the International Journal of Interdisciplinary Research and Innovations, the Bellandur lake water is highly polluted.

Reddy said, “The Bellandur and Varthur lakes were meant to store water for drinking and irrigation purposes, but unscientific planning has made them a collection point of untreated sewage and industrial waste.”

In 2016, the Karnataka government appointed an expert committee that drafted recommendations to address the issues with these lakes.

However, the recommendations were not implemented, said another member of Varthur Rising.

The Indian Institute of Science has also flagged looming threats over these two lakes.

It even laid out a blueprint for their rejuvenation in 2017.

BBMP Commissioner Tushar Girinath told South First that the National Green Tribunal (NGT) constituted a committee headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice N Santosh Hegde to monitor the rejuvenation efforts at Bellandur lake.

He said the works, including digging underground drainage systems around the lakes, setting up sewage treatment plants, and encroachment clearance, were delegated to three civic bodies: the Bhruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), and the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB).

However, the NGT passed on duties of the rejuvenation process to BDA, BWSSB, and BBMP in March 2021, he said.

Delays due to monsoon

BDA Assistant Engineer Aravind SS told South First, “We are carrying out desilting and transportation of silt from the Varthur and Bellandur lakes to Vittasandra and Marasandra now.”

He added: “This work is, however, going to stop soon as the monsoon causes water overflow in the lakes.”

He explained that the lakes would be made froth-free after mechanical measures, but that must be done episodically.

“Frothing was shifted downstream from the Varthur lake near the Avalahalli lake, but it doesn’t prevent overflowing,” he said.

BBMP Commissioner Tushar Girinath told South First that the Palike is involved in restoring the Kaggadasapura lake.

It is to be noted that while the state government is expected to allocate ₹200 crore to rejuvenate 67 lakes in the state, Varthur and Bellandur are not included in the list.