A National Green Tribunal (NGT) committee recently paid a visit to Bellandur and Varthur lakes in the city, on Tuesday, to assess the progress in rejuvenating the lake. Following this, they issued a fresh deadline to Bengaluru Development Authority (BDA) to finish the desilting work within four months, which is by May. This early deadline is on account of the arrival of the monsoon, which would hamper the lake cleaning process. The previous deadline for desilting was September this year.
The committee is headed by Chief Justice Santosh Hedge, and its members consist of scientists from IISc and officials from various government bodies, including the Minor Irrigation Department, BDA (Bengaluru Development Authority) and Karnataka State Pollution control board, as reported by Asianet News. The lakes became international news following the fire in the lakes two years ago. This prompted NGT to take suo moto cognisance to restore the lake.
TNM had reported earlier that BDA, the custodian of Bellandur lake, have invited tenders to desilt the lake. They have already removed all the weeds from the lake and completely emptied the water present in the lake, ahead of desilting.
According to the Times of India, the BDA was in a fix regarding what they should do with the enormous amount of silt that comes out of the two lakes. They have reportedly decided to give the nutrient-rich soil to farmers, brick kilns, and for construction work. The report states that the silt from Bellandur lake could give 4.5 lakh truckloads for construction, while Varthur lake can give 2.6 lakh truckloads of silt, which can be used for construction purposes. They also said in their report that millions of bricks can be made from the silt.
Usually, silt from the lake is used to create artificial islands in the lake. However, an official said that this could not be done anymore, as per a court order.
The New Indian Express reported that the team that visited the lake also took soil samples from the lake. They are expected to examine this in the laboratory, for heavy metals and other pollutants.