Did Rs 50 crore spent to rejuvenate Bellandur go down the drain? NGO writes to NGT

Bangalore Environment Trust had publicly opposed the NGT-approved plan of diverting inflow to the lake and desilt it.
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A Bengaluru-based environment NGO (non-governmental organisation) has written to the National Green Tribunal citing violation of its orders by the authorities with regards to sewage flowing into the infamous Bellandur lake. And by this they have suggested that Rs 50 crore spent by the authorities to build diversion channels to empty the lake as part of the NGT-approved rejuvenation process has also gone to waste.

The NGO – Bangalore Environment Trust (BET) – had publicly opposed the NGT-approved plan of diverting inflow to the lake and desilt it, in February. They instead suggested that Bellandur is at the receiving end of the pollution so authorities should ensure that polluted water does not enter the lake, before doing this one time cleaning of the lake as per the current plan.

Map prepared by BET

BET now in an email to the NGT detailed their findings through photographs and maps. In their email, they said their investigations have uncovered raw sewage flowing directly into the lake in large quantities from one of the pipes from BWSSB's (Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board ) KC (Koramangala-Challaghatta) Valley STP (Sewage Treatment Plants) Project which is located to the north of the lake.

BET pointed out that while the Monitoring Committee Report released by the NGT on May 13 said sewage water is diverted through the diversion channels and no water enters into the lakes, BET found the reality to be different.

They asked the court to order urgent corrective action in this regard. The NGO also asked the NGT to take note of the violations and penalise the authorities. 

Speaking to TNM, Nirmala Gowda, one of the members of BET said, “We now stand vindicated. We don’t know if this is an engineering mistake as they could not estimate what is the height of the highest flow we would get during rain. We observed that naturally as the water flows through Bellandur and flows out, it itself cleans the water partially through natural processes. We have seen water flowing out of Bellandur lake was cleaner than the water entering the lake.”

She added, “So they have now spent around Rs 50 crore in diversion but they could not figure out how they can prevent flooding in the diversion channels if it rains. Also one thing that the lockdown has shown is that the major part of the polluted water problem is the untreated industrial sewage. So there is complete failure on the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board’s part to put a check on industrial effluents entering the water body.”

She suggested that even in the sewage systems there are issues with the STPs managed by the BWSSB not functioning adequately. Other than this she pointed out other lapses by multiple government agencies like the KSPCB, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, Bangalore Development Authority.  

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