Bellandur and Varthur lake revival speeds up, public meeting on June 21st

After decades of neglect, Bellandur and Varthur lakes are now on the fast track to being revived, after the intervention of a NGT-appointed committee. The committee will also hold its first public meeting this month

A committee appointed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) will hold its first public meeting on the rejuvenation of Bellandur and Varthur lakes, on June 21st. The committee, appointed to oversee lake rejuvenation, made the decision at its routine meeting on Tuesday, June 11th.

Tuesday’s meeting was chaired by committee member Dr U V Singh. Another committee member Prof T V Ramachandra, KSPCB (Karnataka State Pollution Control Board) Member Secretary Manoj Kumar, BWSSB (Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board) Chairman Tushar Girinath, officials from various departments including the Urban Development Department (UDD), attended the meeting. Citizen representatives Jagadish Reddy and Srinivas were also present.

Here are the decisions made at the meeting:

  • The committee will hold its first public meeting on June 21st, to inform citizens about the details of lake rejuvenation, and to take their inputs. The meeting is mainly targeted at farmers and local residents who are stakeholders of the lake. The meeting will start at around 11 am, at KK English School in Varthur. Citizens are requested to submit their grievances, if any, in writing only, before or during the meeting.
  • Bellandur lake is already being drained, and the process will start soon in Varthur lake too. Once the lakes are drained and dry, BDA will build temporary diversion channels around both the lakes. These works are proposed to be completed during monsoon.
  • After this, both lakes will be desilted simultaneously in September. During desilting, farmers who usually use water and fodder from the lake, should make alternate arrangements to procure these.
  • The agency that will prepare the DPR (Detailed Project Report) for rejuvenating both lakes, is to be identified.
  • The UDD has forwarded a letter to the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister, recommending transfer of both lakes from BDA to BBMP.
  • Mahendra Jain, Additional Chief Secretary of the UDD, was requested to call a meeting of civic agencies involved in lake rejuvenation. At the meeting, decision would be taken on the accountability of each agency and resource disbursement to them for rejuvenation.
  • BBMP was asked to clear encroachments around the two lakes and surrounding stormwater drains (SWDs). BBMP’s SWD department has to submit an action taken report on this, at the next routine NGT committee meeting on June 25th.
  • The committee advised BBMP to work with the Department of Mines and Geology to identify suitable quarries where silt from the two lakes can be dumped. BBMP also has to get permission from relevant authorities for silt dumping.
  • Bellandur lake already has lake marshals, mostly ex-servicemen, who patrol the lake 24X7 and prevent illegal activities such as garbage dumping. But the state Finance Department had earlier denied permission to appoint lake marshals at Varthur lake. Now BBMP has forwarded a fresh proposal to the UDD to appoint lake marshals here.

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