NGT verdict, lifesaver for lakes

The National Green Tribunal’s ruling on the wetlands in Bengaluru, and specifically on the construction activity on those between the Agara and Bellandur lakes, is a victory for the cause of protection of the city’s natural environment. It gives hope that the law and the people’s will to protect their environment have a chance to assert themselves over the high-flying plans of developers. It has not often been the case till now, and so it is a rare victory which should be welcomed. The green court has stayed the construction project on the wetlands between the two lakes, quashed their clearances and approval plans and imposed heavy penalties on them. The court has also increased the buffer zones of lakes and storm water drains and ordered demolition of illegal structures. There is the need for more clarity on the implications of the ruling. But it is clear that drastic measures are needed to reverse the present situation which poses a serious threat to the lives and well-being of the residents of the city.

Bengaluru was once a city of many lakes which had a major role in maintaining its underground water levels, supporting its flora and fauna, regulating its climate and promoting its aesthetic appeal. But most lakes have been taken over or encroached, and have disappeared now. Those that remain are shrunken ponds, and many of them may not survive. The annual frothing of Bellandur and other lakes and disasters like the recent fish death in the Ulsoor lake are intimations of mortality. Construction on lakebeds and in the vicinity of lakes is the most important reason for their degradation and poor health. Rising summer temperatures and worsening water shortage are signs of more difficult times to come. The time for remedial measures is past.

That is why the green tribunal ruling is important. Those who will be adversely affected by it are likely to fight it legally and otherwise. They are sure to have support from the powerful political and bureaucratic lobbies. It is, in fact, the nexus between builders, politicians and officials, which has made the situation so bad. Those who fought for the cause of the lakes and the people of the city, whose welfare is clearly linked
with the lakes, will have to continue their fight till it is ensured that the ruling is fully and correctly implemented. Those who approved illegal constructions and connived with the wrongdoers should be brought to book, too. There should be no retrospective regularisation of illegalities because the greater public interest, of the community and the city, is at stake.

Liked the story?

  • 0

    Happy
  • 0

    Amused
  • 0

    Sad
  • 0

    Frustrated
  • 0

    Angry