Appoint NEERI to study lakes: High Court

Appoint NEERI to study lakes: High Court

The Karnataka High Court has directed the state government to rope in the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) as an expert agency to undertake an in-depth study of the lakes within BBMP limits.

A division bench headed by Chief Justice A S Oka was hearing a batch of petitions seeking directions to the BBMP to ensure effective maintenance and monitoring of the stormwater drains.

The court further stated that NEERI has to study the existing lakes, ascertain the locations of the lakes that have disappeared and suggest restoration measures. Moreover, NEERI has to come up with short-term and long-term measures for the protection and rejuvenation of the existing lakes and recommend the same to the state, BBMP and other local bodies.

The state and other concerned authorities would have to implement the short-term and long-term measures put forth by NEERI. The court added that NEERI has to submit its first report within three months of its appointment. The bench also observed it is the duty of the state and the BBMP to ensure lakes and tanks are protected.

The beautification of lakes does not mean rejuvenation, the court said adding that none of the authorities are sure of the exact number of lakes that existed within BBMP limits. Thereby there is no account of lakes that have disappeared with the passage of time.

According to the court, protecting a lake is not to merely ensuring water but to make sure the waterbody is free of pollution. The case was adjourned to Tuesday.

Grievance redressal

The court asked the BBMP to make available a grievance redressal mechanism so that citizens can lodge complaints pertaining to illegal encroachments, dumping of garbage and the like. The said mechanism must enable citizens to lodge complaints through e-mail/WhatsApp and even upload pictures of any illegalities for the authorities to launch immediate counter measures.