Bellandur lake fire: Red tape delays action on officials

Bellandur lake fire: Red tape delays action on officials

The procedure of filing a case against BWSSB officials in connection with the pollution of Bellandur lake has been stuck in red tape, awaiting a small amendment to the authorisation issued by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB).

The KSPCB’s regional office (Bommanahalli division) would have filed a criminal case before the Chief Metropolitan Court against the BWSSB but for a small amendment in the authorisation.

The chairman of the KSPCB, Vaman Acharya, directed the officials concerned to file a criminal case against the BWSSB under section 24 of the Water Act, 1974, which is invoked against those polluting natural resources.

The authorisation has a list of officials to be booked, including the BWSSB chairman, the additional chief engineer, the executive engineer and the assistant executive engineer. But in the authorisation for ‘additional chief engineer’, it was mentioned ‘superintending engineer’, a post that doesn’t exist in the BWSSB.

“The authorisation was sent back to the KSPCB head office for the same correction, which would be done by the senior environmental officer. It has been more than 20 days and we are still waiting,” said Siddaramaiah, regional officer (Bommanahalli division), KSPCB.
“We will file the case as soon as we get the amended authorisation.”

Spread over 900 acres, the Bellandur lake receives about 500 million litres of sewage water, mostly untreated, per day. The KSPCB, after testing pollution levels lately in the Bellandur lake, has classified it as worse than ‘E’ category, which is touted to be a dead lake. In a bizarre incident, due to the increased content of methane in the lake, the water body went up in flames on Saturday.

“For me, Bellandur lake catching fire is a serious crisis but has the government taken it as a crisis I don’t know,” Acharya said. “The Bellandur crisis is leading to visual pollution, smell pollution and poses health hazards to people. Isn’t it the duty of the government to ensure its people get a quality life?”

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