Deadline looms, govt begins lake cleaning

Deadline looms, govt begins lake cleaning

Agencies told to work on war footing

Deadline looms, govt begins lake cleaning

The state government on Thursday got cracking on cleaning up the Bellandur lake, a day after the National Green Tribunal set it a month’s deadline.

Chief Secretary Subash Chandra Kuntia met top officials from various agencies and urged them to work on a war footing.

The meeting was prompted by tribunal chairman Justice Swantater Kumar’s order on Wednesday to close down all 585 industries in the vicinity of the lake. He also sought an action-taken report within two weeks. On Thursday, Kuntia called for detailed reports on what various government agencies had done to stop the lake from frothing.

The top bureaucrat has convened another meeting on Friday to chalk out an expeditious and concerted plan to restore the lake, notorious for frothing and even catching fire.

Mahendra Jain, Additional Chief Secretary, Urban Development, told DH it was difficult to show major improvement in two weeks.He estimates the construction of sewage treatment plants will take at least two years.

“In the meantime, we will remove the froth and hyacinth and put up aerators,” he said.

The Bengaluru Development Authority, custodian of the lake, promised results in two weeks.  Prof T V Ramachandra from the Indian Institute of Science, environmentalist A N Yellappa Reddy and former BDA commissioner Siddaiah were among those who attended the meeting. Ramachandra expressed happiness that work had finally begun in earnest.

P N Nayak, BDA engineer-member, said fencing of the lake, started a month ago, was 70% done. “Weeding will start in three or four days. That is the immediate action we are taking,” he told the meeting.

BBMP engineers promised to clear the debris from the stormwater drains. Their BWSSB counterparts said they would speed up the work on  sewage treatment plants. Some committee members suggested the water body be handed over to defence personnel, as proposed earlier. “We are pressing for it, as it is the only way to revive the dying lake,” Ramachandra said.

Green whip

 The National Green Tribunal on Wednesday ordered the closure of all industries around Bellandur lake.

Action on Thursday:

Chief Secretary Kuntia takes stock with top officials, calls another meeting on Friday.

Government says it needs more time to file action-taken report. Tribunal has given it two weeks.

Lake custodian BDA promises to begin weeding, show improvement in two weeks.

A startup offers to oxygenate lake for a full month, and for free.
 Lake Development Authority talks of Yamuna biodiversity park model to clean lake.

Industries scene

Garment industries around the lake were in panic on Thursday. Senior executives visited units and directed their staff not to let out even a single drop of untreated water.