T.S. Ranganna

CAG report raps authorities for not checking sewage flow

Sewage flows into the lake from all sides

LDA inspects lake in 2009, finds it in deplorable condition

Bangalore: Failure on the part of the Lake Development Authority (LDA) to arrest the flow of untreated sewage into lake Jaraganahalli in Bangalore, while creating a clean environment and beautifying the area around it, has led to the loss of Rs. 3.63 crore spent on restoration works under the National Lake Conservation Plan.

In a severe indictment, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India's (Civil) report for the year ended March 2009 disagreed with the State Government's reply that the Detailed Project Report approved by the Government of India (GOI) did not contain enough steps for preventing flow of sewage into the lake. The failure was in violation of the condition put by the Union Government.

‘Not justified'

“The reply is not justified as the LDA could have taken up the matter with the government and ensured total arrest of untreated sewage as prescribed by the Union Government before taking up restoration work,” the report added.

The Centre accorded administrative approval and expenditure sanction for restoration by the Forest Department at a cost of Rs. 3.63 crore to be shared by the Union and State governments in the ratio of 70:30, with the latter paying Rs. 99 lakh. However, the latter revised the cost to Rs. 3.91 crore.

Things to get done

The work comprised removing silt, diversion of sewage, construction of drop wall for wetlands, chain-ink fencing, boat jetty and waste weirs. The lake became a breeding ground for mosquitoes as sewage was directly let into it.

The LDA entrusted the work, barring diversion of sewage flow, to a contractor for Rs. 2.04 crore.

Glitches

The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board was entrusted with the work of sewage diversion work at a cost of Rs. 40 lakh. But, the CAG said the audit revealed that owing to inadequate slope provided in the new pipeline constructed to divert the sewage, the flow was not smooth, leading to frequent heading up of sewage in the lateral lines.

The pipeline/manholes were, therefore, damaged by the local residents resulting in discharge of sewage directly into the lake. When the lake was inspected by the LDA in June 2004, it was found that sewage was continuously entering the lake from the southern side. Despite the continued discharge of sewage into the lake, the contractor completed other restoration works.

Restoration continues

The CAG said that when the LDA inspected the lake in 2009, it was full of weeds and untreated sewage was flowing in unchecked from all directions.

The lake was found to be in a deplorable condition. The then Bangalore Mahanagara Palike and the Bommanahalli City Municipal Council had taken up construction of a storm water drain through the lake bed damaging the restoration works executed by the contractor.

The apartments and households in the vicinity were discharging sewage directly into the lake.

Thus, the CAG said the action of the LDA in taking up restoration works without adequately arresting the flow of untreated sewage rendered the expenditure of Rs. 3.63 crore a waste as the lake could not be protected from pollution. The objective of lake restoration was also not achieved.

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