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Bellandur lake fire: NGT gives state two weeks to file affidavit

New Delhi/Bengaluru: March 21, 2017, DHNS 2:26 IST
The repeated incidents of fire at Bellandur lake have  been blamed on severe pollution caused by excessive  urbanisation. dh file photo

The repeated incidents of fire at Bellandur lake have been blamed on severe pollution caused by excessive urbanisation. dh file photo

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Monday asked the Karnataka government and its various agencies to submit within two weeks affidavits on the recent outbreak of fire in Bellandur lake in Bengaluru and the steps taken to rejuvenate the waterbody.

While the Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Authority (KLCDA) filed its affidavit before the NGT’s principal bench, the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB), the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and other agencies sought two weeks to file theirs. The bench gave them time till April 12.

Besides, the tribunal sought compliance reports from Mantri Techzone Pvt Ltd and Core Mind Software and Services Pvt Ltd with respect to its judgement of May 4, 2016. The two firms are accused of carrying out construction in the vicinity of the lake in violation of the rules.

Meanwhile, D Kupendra Reddy, a JD(S) member of Rajya Sabha, through advocate Sanjay M Nuli, sought to implead himself in the NGT’s suo motu proceedings on Bellandur lake, arguing that he had filed a writ petition before the High Court of Karnataka for the conservation of the waterbody. In an affidavit, Reddy contended that the recent incidents of fire were the result of severe pollution caused by excessive urbanisation and consequential inefficient solid waste management. The tribunal, however, refused to move the case to the high court and directed him to refile his application.

On February 20, 2017, the tribunal had taken suo motu cognisance of media reports and photographs of fire in the lake and issued notices to the Environment Ministry, the Karnataka government, the KLCDA, the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board and the Central Pollution Control Board, and asked why their officials should not be prosecuted under the Environment Protection Act for not following the tribunal’s orders on protecting the lake.

Namma Bengaluru Foundation, a civic nonprofit, which has impleaded itself in the case, submitted that it was not the first incident of fire in the lake. It said such incidents had occurred in the past owing to rampant dumping of waste in the lake. It also complained that government agencies never cared to check the poor air quality following multiple incidents of garbage-burning in the area.

It sought the tribunal’s assistance in taking remedial measures to save the waterbody as elaborately discussed in the report of the expert committee on Bellandur lake. The nonprofit said no proper study had been done to assess the actual amount of sewage entering the lake and that all the estimates were based on old survey reports.
DH News Service

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