In yet another hearing on the Bellandur lake at the National Green Tribunal, officials of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) and the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KPSCB) were pulled up for failing to take action.
At Wednesday’s hearing, Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel expressed his reservations over the delay in building Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) and pulled up the BWSSB chairman Tushar Girinath for seeking two more years of time to build STPs, while the experts say it can be done in nine months.
The NGT asked the state government to complete the construction of STPs by September 2020 to prevent entry of sewage water.
It also noted that there is a colossal waste of money as treated water goes into the lake, mixing with untreated water and then getting treated again. It also noted that desilting process, which was started, did not finish as part of due process.
A fire which occurred in Bellandur Lake in February 2017 led to the NGT taking suo motu cognisance of the issue. The NGT has repeatedly reprimanded the Government of Karnataka and its parastatal agencies for failing to protect the lake. In December 2018, the state government was even fined Rs 100 crore for the same.
The court warned that criminal cases would be filed for dereliction of duty against all officials responsible for the upkeep of the lake. It further reprimanded that the inaction and excuses of cost, unavailability of resources and technical glitches.
Harish Kumar, general manager of Namma Bengaluru Foundation, responded, “We seek that a particular officer must be accountable for a particular activity in a particular time frame. If the experts say that sewage flow can be stopped in 9 months and BWSSB has asked for 2 more years (by 2022), it only shows the lack of interest and unaccountability of BWSSB in solving this issue. The accountability needs to be sorted else we will not get things fixed inside a timeframe”.