Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on Thursday asked top officials of the Karnataka Lake Development Authority to take up restoration and development of lakes in public-private partnership mode under corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, on a priority basis. The CM was holding a meeting between the lake body and office bearers of Karnataka Chamber of Commerce and Industry at his official residence.
He told the officers that the damage which has already been caused to our lakes cannot be set right overnight , stringent measures are required to be taken in this regard.
He directed the officers to prepare a DPR after studying the ground realities and to take up these projects phase by phase in a time-bound manner under CSR initiatives of corporate sector, as per a statement from the CM’s office.
Kumaraswamy also directed the Additional Chief Secretary of Urban Development Department, Mahendra Jain to prepare an alternate plan to provide adequate housing to the poor who have built their homes on the storm water drains (rajakaluve).
Officials were also asked to draw action plans to de-silt the lakes of Uttara Karnataka region and to make them more functional.
Incidentally, a recent media report pointed out that the Karnataka government has not sought funds from the repair, renovation and restoration (RRR) scheme of the Union Ministry of Water Resources.
This move by the government comes as the Supreme Court is hearing the state government’s appeal to quash the heavy fines imposed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) for the state’s failure to take adequate steps to rejuvenate the infamous Bellandur lake. The NGT’s Principal Bench had imposed a fine of Rs 50 crore on the Karnataka government and Rs 25 crore on BBMP.
The NGT in its recent order has asked the state government to transfer Rs 500 crore to an escrow account for execution of the action plan to clean Bellandur. It has further warned of a fine of Rs 100 crore, if the government fails to take corrective action.
The state government also wants the Supreme Court to allow dilution of buffer zone of lakes and storm water drains, set by the NGT.