NGT panel seeks Rs 24 crore fine for Ulsoor lake mess

NGT panel favours imposing Rs 24 crore fine on BBMP, BWSSB for failure to upkeep Ulsoor lake

The panel said the reccomendations were partialy followed and that the water quality of the lake had not improved

A view Ulsoor lake in poor condition. Credit: PTI Photo

A joint committee set up by National Green Tribunal has recommended that Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara  Palike (BBMP), Bengaluru Water Supply and Sewerage Board ( BWSSB) and Madras Engineering Group and Centre (MEG)  may be asked to pay Rs 23.71 crore as compensation for environmental damage for failure to upkeep Ulsoor lake in Bengaluru city.

The joint panel, which inspected the lake to check whether the concerned authorities have complied with its recommendation made on August 10, 2020, on maintaining cleanliness and water quality, has submitted its report to the NGT.

In its report, the joint panel said despite it making several recommendations, the BBMP, BWSSB and MEG Centre only partially implemented it and water quality had not improved.

"The analysis results show that the water quality of Ulsoor lake has higher concentrations of BOD ( Biochemical oxygen demand),  COD (chemical oxygen demand),,Total Coliform and Fecal Coliform. This indicates untreated/partially treated sewage is discharged to the lake. The water quality of the lake is not improved compared to the water quality during the earlier inspection of the Joint Committee in May, 2020," the panel said.

Since the authorities concerned failed to fully comply with the joint committee report, they may be asked to pay compensation, the panel said.

For BBMP Rs. 17.83 crore compensation may be imposed for operating Civil Slaughter House Tannery Road, Bengaluru and Effluent Treatment Plants (ETP) without valid consent and non-compliance of the discharge standards, the panel said.

For the BWSSB Rs 2.94 crore may be imposed for non-compliance of with the discharge standards in 2 MLD STP operated at Ulsoor Lake by it.

For Madras Engineering Group and Centre Rs. 2.94 crore for non-compliance of the discharge standards in 100 KLD STP operated by it, the panel said.

Earlier, the NGT Southern Bench, while taking up suo moto of water contamination in the Ulsoor Lake due to indiscriminate discharge of sewage, formed a joint panel. The panel had submitted a report on August 10, 2020 and made several recommendations to upkeep the water body. The NGT had asked the joint panel to visit the spot and check whether earlier recommendations were complied with by concerned authorities.

The Joint Committee comprised officials of the Central Pollution Control Board, Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), BBMP and Karnataka Revenue Department.

The panel also said that the BBMP shall apply for renewal of Consent for Operation from KSPCB for the operation of Slaughter House and 50 KLD (kilo litres per day ) ETP on priority and comply with the prescribed standards prior to disposal of effluent.

Madras Engineering Group and Centre shall apply for Consent for Operation from KSPCB for the operation of the existing STP and to construct an additional STP to treat additional 4,200 KLD sewage generated from MEG Centre in time-bound manner, the panel said.

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