This brings the total number of Bengaluru lakes under BBMP’s purview to more than 200.

Bengaluru civic body gets ownership of 38 lakes to supervise cleaning rejuvenationFile photo of Varthur lake
news Civic Sunday, December 15, 2019 - 17:57

In Bengaluru, a problem many have been complaining about is that there is no single authority that takes care of the city’s lakes, which means activists don’t know whom to approach with their grievances. Over time, this has only resulted in authorities passing the buck and this could be one of the factors that led to the deterioration of the city’s water bodies.

However, now, a new order from the Urban Development Department has moved several lakes under the purview of a single body. The Hindu reported that as many as 38 lakes in Bengaluru are now under the purview of the BBMP. This comes after the State government, led by Chief Minister Yediyurappa, took a decision in November to hand over all the lakes in Bengaluru to the BBMP.

BBMP Commissioner Anil Kumar has said, “We will conduct a survey of the lakes and perform demolitions of encroachments if necessary. After this, we will begin the process of rejuvenation of the lakes.” He went on to add that this brings the total number of Bengaluru lakes under BBMP’s purview to more than 200.

However, two important lakes that have consistently been in the news — Bellandur and Varthur lakes —  will continue to be to the maintained and rejuvenated by the BDA. The Bellandur lake made international headlines last year when the effluents going into the lake caught fire and raged on for several hours. Meanwhile, marshals had to be deployed at Varthur lake to curb illegal dumping and encroachment activities.

From one authority to another

The BDA has previously held custody of several Bengaluru lakes to rejuvenate them. However, the Deccan Herald reported in November that they are facing a cash crunch and asked the government to let the BBMP take charge of the lakes.

The Economic Times reported in 2017 that the BDA had restored 17 lakes halfway, but left the process incomplete before handing it over to the BBMP. The BBMP had initially not accepted the transfer of these lakes, however, they agreed to it once funds were earmarked for this purpose. Now, some more lakes have been transferred from the BDA to the BBMP.

Previously, the city lakes were the responsibility of the BDA, BBMP, Forest department and the Minor Irrigation department in quick rotation. There are two lake which come under the BMRCL.

In 2018, an order was passed that Bengaluru's lakes would come under the Minor Irrigation Department. In a move that environmentalists and activists dubbed as a step backwards, the state government of Karnataka handed over the city’s lakes, some of which are in deplorable condition, to the Minor Irrigation Department.

In the process, the state government also repealed the Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development authority (KLCDA) Act two years after the Siddaramaiah government brought it into existence.

Read more: K’taka govt hands over lakes to Minor Irrigation Dept, repeals ‘progressive’ KLCDA Act

 Karnataka government doesn't know how to save dried up lakes, so plans to disown them?

 The lost lakes of Bengaluru: From Majestic bus stand to stadiums, they all have one thing in common