No greater farce than de-weeding Bellandur Lake: NGT

No greater farce than de-weeding Bellandur Lake: NGT

Excavators de-weeding the Bellandur Lake. DH FILE PHOTO

The state government's decision to de-weed the intensely polluted and frothing Bellandur Lake has left the city, especially the neighbourhood of the vast waterbody, on the brink of yet another ecological catastrophe.

The wet compost mounds on the banks of the lake with no takers and an unscientific approach is fast making it a threat to the local environment, according to the findings of the commission, set up by the National Green Tribunal.

An independent commission, set up by the NGT that visited the lake front in April and submitted its detailed report to the tribunal on May 31, based on the report of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), observed that the 'wet compost if it remains in the periphery trenches along the lake for many days, beyond a month, the pollution from such unscientific work may be another challenge for the lake authority and for the environment'.

The commission's report, a copy of which is available with DH, revealed that the civic agencies, particularly the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), in the absence of buyers for the 'so-called compost', apparently dug up deep pits measuring 15 to 20 ft deep in the lake bed well within the boundary of the waterbody to dump the material.

"The compost along with its solid waste is dumped into the pit and then covered with excavated earth. Shockingly, the excavated earth for creation of pits for composting of weeds was to a large extent nothing but construction and demolition waste.E The CPCB has feared that the wet compost, if it remains in the trenches (compost pits) for many days, will be another challenge for the environment," the report explained.

The NGT commission also opined that there is a need for a scientific disposal method to be planned by preparing a DPR (detailed project report) with scientific and technical inputs. "There cannot be a greater farce than the alleged removal of hyacinth and disposal of the so called compost, on which lakhs and lakhs of precious public money is being diverted," the commission, headed by senior advocate Raj Panjwani, expressed.

The CPCB officials revealed to the commission during the inspection that the removed weeds along with domestic waste like plastic materials were kept within the boundary of the lake, forming huge mounds.

Rajiv Chandrasekhar, parliamentarian from Bengaluru, who is also a petitioner to the NGT on the Bellandur Lake issue, said: "This amounts to criminal contempt of court and its directions. The court ordered to remove the weeds from the lake. But the government has been removing it and dumping it within the boundary of the lake without even trying to take it out. The previous government, more than saving the lake, has only killed it."