The Bangalore Environment Trust (BET) has urged the State government and the Monitoring Committee, appointed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to oversee the rejuvenation and protection of Bellandur, Varthur and Agara lakes, to come up with lake specific maintenance policy at the earliest by clearly documenting the execution of maintenance activities along with adequate resources, including the budget.
“The interim direction by the Honourable High Court clearly states that the State government is required to set aside resources for the rehabilitation and maintenance of lakes as part of its budgetary exercise. The monitoring committee must ensure compliance of that order and get the necessary funds and resources for maintenance of Bellandur , Varthur and Agara lakes for the next 10 years at least,” a document by the Trust stated.
The document, with 31 points and titled ‘Citizen’s Agenda for Bellandur/Varthur Catchment’, by the BET has also been submitted to Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) and the Urban Development Department (UDD).
According to the BET, one of the many reasons why the lakes were in a state of neglect and pollution was because of the conspicuous absence of maintenance activities. “The one-time rejuvenated lakes are falling into a state of neglect due to lack of maintenance. Agara lake (in the Bellandur lake catchment) was rejuvenated by BDA in 2004, but fell into a state of neglect and severe pollution, following which it was rejuvenated again in 2018-19.”
BET has asked for preparation of treated waste water utilisation plan for Bellandur and Varthur lakes catchment area “with a very clear policy decision to use the treated waste water to maintain the lakes of Bengaluru up to its brim.”
Terming the one time rejuvenation by the BDA a “complete mess”, the document says, “Its ad-hoc , piecemeal and impractical nature of work has worsened pollution of the lake bed and resulted in infructuous expenses... In terms of silt disposal, an astounding 77% of the desilting cost (i.e. ₹131 crore) is allocated for disposal of silt to a quarry 25 km away,” and urges the government for a cost-benefit analysis to justify the disposal cost.