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Weeding machines from Mumbai begin cleaning Bellandur lake

Bosky Khanna, Bengaluru, DH News Service, May 4 2017, 2:17 IST
A harverster clears weeds from the Bellandur lake in Bengaluru on Wednesday. DH Photo Srikanta Sharma R

A harverster clears weeds from the Bellandur lake in Bengaluru on Wednesday. DH Photo Srikanta Sharma R

Work on cleaning up Bellandur lake gained momentum on Wednesday as two harvesters began clearing weeds from the 910-acre water body.

According to Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) officials, the machines arrived on Tuesday and entered the lake from the direction of Sun City on Wednesday morning.

“The machines were to arrive last week from Mumbai, but were delayed because they needed road transport clearance,” said a BDA official.

The BDA expects the machines to complete the work within three months. Harvins Engineering, which has bagged the BDA contract to weed Bellandur lake, has tied up with a company called Clean Tech to procure the machines.

Gaurav Chopra, executive director of Clean Tech, said the harvesters had begun working on the surface, and long-boom excavators would soon remove weeds from within the lake.

“About 60% of the lake is filled with weeds, and we will make all attempts to complete the work within the stipulated time. But it is difficult,” he said, hinting at a potential delay.

The BDA is yet to decide what to do with the weeds removed from the lake. Officials are still looking for yards to dump the weeds and silt.

Surviving natural wetland
A natural wetland in one part of Bellandur lake provides hope that the dying water body can be revived, said Prof C R Babu, well-known botanist.

He visited the lake with Prof T V Ramachandra of the Indian Institute of Science, and G Vidyasagar, chief executive officer of the Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Authority.
Babu and Ramachandra offered suggestions to fine-tune the draft wetland model created by the lake authority for presentation before the National Green Tribunal.

The surviving natural wetland offers hope that more such stretches can be created, Babu said. Babu is working on a biodiversity park on the banks of the Yamuna in Delhi. He is helping create a similar park at Madiwala.

“Experts say the natural wetland alone cannot treat the 200 mld of sewage that enters the lake. They have suggested the creation of a crescent-shaped wetland near an inlet,” Vidyasagar said. The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board has promised sewage treatment plants planned in the vicinity of the lake will be operational by 2020.

Babu and Ramachandra were shocked to learn the BWSSB was planning bio-remediation in concrete drains. “Bioremediation is not possible in a concretised closed storm-water drain. I had told the BBMP and the BWSSB engineers about this,” Ramachandra said. Bioremediation is a technique that involves the use of organisms to neutralise pollutants at a contaminated site.

He believes the valley has ample space that the state government can reclaim from the Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board. “The board had acquired it and given it to Mantri Developers. This land is originally a natural wetland, and it should be restored, with the BWSSB setting set up a sewage treatment plant here. This is the fastest way to restore Bellandur lake,” Ramachandra said.
DH News Service

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