The National Green Tribunal asked the Karnataka state government on Wednesday to immediately stop discharging untreated sewage into the Bellandur lake in Bengaluru.
Criticizing the government for its action, the NGT said that it would issue restraining directions if the government does not immediately stop polluting the lake. Chief Secretary of the state has been directed to be present before the Tribunal on the next hearing scheduled on April 18.
Taking cognizance of the fire that erupted in Bellandur lake in the month of February, the NGT had issued a notice to the state government in March and had given it time till April 12 to respond on the notice.
While asking the government to restrain itself on discharging untreated sewage into the lake, the NGT also criticized Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Authority (KLCDA) for its poor handling of the crisis. The tribunal observed that "it was the only lake development authority in the world which is causing fire in the lakes."
KLCDA has been asked to apprise the tribunal about the measures it has taken since February 16, when the Bellandur lake caught fire.
When The News Minute reached out to G Vidyasagar, Chief Executive Officer of KLCDA, he refused to comment on the matter.
Ramprasad, convener of Friends of Lakes told TNM that it was sad that Karnataka, despite having a strong law to prevent pollution of its water bodies, has however, failed to do so.
"The laws that we have in the state with regard to lake protection is the best in the country. But these laws only remain in the book, it is never implemented," Ramprasad said.
MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Member, Rajya Sabha and Founder Trustee, Namma Bengaluru Foundation said in a statement, "This government has shown not an iota of responsibility to stopping the exploitation of our city. It’s time to hold officials and departments accountable."
Sridhar Pabbisetty, CEO, Namma Bengaluru Foundation said “We want KLCDA to no longer allow rampant abuse of our lakes that are in custody of various government agencies. Most of our lakes have disappeared due to illegal encroachment and citizens of Bengaluru are left to bear the brunt of it.”