Karnataka to seek review of NGT order on lake revival

Bengaluru: Karnataka will seek a review of the National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) December 6 order asking the state government to deposit Rs 500 crore in an escrow account for the revival of lakes in Bengaluru, a senior official said on Friday.

“The state government will soon file a review petition against the Tribunal’s ruling by taking inputs from the city civic body and the state’s Bengaluru Development Authority,” the city civic body legal head Keshav Deshpande told IANS here.

The Tribunal had also imposed a Rs 50 crore penalty on the state, to be deposited with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), for alleged neglect of Bellandur and Varthur lakes in the city’s southeast suburb.

The twin lakes, about 20km from the city centre, are filled with sewage, effluents, solid municipal waste, construction and demolition waste and weed, and are often seen frothing due to the pollutants. The solid waste also catches fire occasionally.

State’s Deputy Chief Minister G. Parameshwara, who also holds the Bengaluru Development portfolio, said the state was not in a position to deposit Rs 500 crore in an escrow account.

“The state has been making all efforts to revive and protect the lakes, which the Tribunal will be apprised of,” Parameshwara told reporters earlier.

Due to space constraints in the city, it was also practically not possible to implement the Tribunal’s 2016 ruling of maintaining a 75m buffer zone around water bodies, Parameshwara said.

“The state will bring these issues to the notice of the Tribunal,” he added.

The environmental watchdog had directed the state in May 2016 to maintain a 75m green belt and buffer zone around all lakes in the cities.

“Several people have built their homes around the lakes and it will be practically difficult to have a 75m buffer zone as it will have grave implications,” Parameshwara said.

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