The Karnataka government and civic body Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike was once again criticised for the deplorable condition of lakes in Bengaluru.
Lokayukta Justice Vishwanath Shetty remarked, “Bengaluru is the only city in India that has the potential to be best city in India & Internationally. It is an irony that officials are to be reminded or pushed to ensure that they do their duty (with all sincerity and commitment). Only then city will not lose hope.”
The Lokayukta was hearing a case on Thursday pertaining to five lakes which were inspected by himself. The plea was submitted by citizens under the aegis of United Bengaluru (UB), which is a consolidation of multiple resident welfare organisations and citizen-activist groups.
The five lakes are Byramangala Reservoir, Vrishabhavathi Valley, Sarakki Lake, Subramanyapura Lake and Talaghattapura lake.
The Lokayukta observed that there was no change in the situation and health condition of the villagers living around the reservoir as the villagers are forced to drink the contaminated groundwater, with regard to Byramangala Reservoir and Vrishabhavathi Valley.
“The soil around the reservoir is also polluted leading to severe health hazards including that of cancer. Minor Irrigation Department has been directed to construct STPs and Pollution Control Board has submitted a status report today on testing done on the sample collected at 26 locations across the valley and the reservoir. A team of officials from BBMP, Minor Irrigation Department and Pollution Control Board along with United Bengaluru representatives will be visiting the Valley to check on the illegal sand mining,” a statement by United Bengaluru said.
Citizen representatives from the other lakes were also present to provide on-ground status report of the activities carried out by the officials. The Lokayukta asked the progress report to be submitted by the next hearing scheduled for September 11, 2018.
Other than Sarakki Lake where citizens told the Lokayukta that significant work has been done without the fencing, developments regarding the other lakes disappointed the Lokayukta.
HS Doreswamy, freedom fighter said, “The officials only request for additional time but don’t seem to finish their jobs. There are so many lakes in Bengaluru out of which if 10 are rejuvenated and their water utilised for drinking, the city’s water problem can be solved to a large extent and people don’t have to depend on Cauvery water for drinking.”
The CEO of Namma Bengaluru Foundation Sridhar Pabbisetty said, “It is disappointing that the officials are working only after Lokayukta’s directions and doing nothing on their own.”