Panel to draw blueprint for Bengaluru lake revival

Bengaluru: The Karnataka government is setting up an expert committee to draw a blueprint for reviving and restoring Bellandur lake in the city’s east which has been most polluted with toxic discharges and untreated sewage water, it was announced on Thursday.

“The expert committee will be given three weeks to submit a blueprint for the integrated development of Bellandur lake,” Bengaluru Development Minister K.J. George told reporters here.

The decision to set up the expert panel with Urban Development Secretary Mahendra Jain as its chairman was taken at a workshop held earlier in the day attended by the minister, heads of various state-run utility boards, civic agencies, law makers, environmental experts, citizen groups and social activists.

“The blueprint will incorporate suggestions made in a document Namma Bengaluru Foundation prepared on ‘Save Bellandur Action Plan’ in April,” George said.

Raising concern over the condition of the lake and the urgency to revive it on war-footing, he said it was a victim of unchecked growth of the city and unregulated flow of pollutants into it.

“As experts claim that there is no oxygen left in the lake, it is imperative for us to work on a comprehensive plan to save it,” George asserted.

The workshop was convened at a short notice a day after the National Green Tribunal on Wednesday directed the state government to demolish all constructions in buffer zones of lakes and feeder canals across the city.

In a response to a petition by the Foundation and residents’ welfare associations in the city, the tribunal told the government to increase the buffer zone to protect the lakes and other water bodies from encroachments and illegal constructions.

“The solution to resolve the Bellandur lake has to be technically feasible, economically viable and environmentally sound. It is important that we free our lakes from encroachers and land mafias. We need to treat every drop of sewage and recover nutrients from the same,” Indian Institute of Science professor T.V. Ramachandra said on the occasion.

Rain water harvesting and removal of silt from the lake have to be taken up, and it is essential to prevent encroachment of valley-zones of lake beds, he said.

“We should replicate the Jakur lake model in the city’s northern suburb for Bellandur and other contaminated lakes in and around the city. I am worried that land, water and waste mafia have taken over Bengaluru,” Ramachandra added.