Threat to Varthur lake from debris, soil being dumped for 'road'

Threat to Varthur lake from debris, soil being dumped for 'road'

A road being built by the Minor Irrigation and Groundwater Development Department as part of its project to take treated water to Kolar via a pipeline near Varthur lake is threatening the waterbody’s ecology.

The 100ft road is being constructed on the Varthur lake periphery, supposedly for laying the pipeline. Whitefield Rising volunteers noticed that the road was coming up perilously close to the already polluted lake on August 8.

“The road is in clear violation of the NGT orders which categorically state there shouldn’t be any activities other than agriculture within the 75-metre buffer zone. All the excavated mud and debris from construction sites are being dumped into the lake to make this road, violating NGT orders,” says a volunteer from Whitefield Rising.   

The state government approved the project to take 400 mld (million litres per day) of treated sewage water through the pipeline to recharge lakes in Kolar and Chikkaballapur.

“The lake is already under tremendous pressure. A road near the lake or in the buffer zone alters the physical features and the ecological integrity of the lake,” said the Whitefield Rising team.

KLCDA awaits BDA report

Seema Garg, CEO, Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Authority (KLCDA) said they have given time till September first week to the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) to file a report on the condition of Varthur lake. They will have to explain the extent of loss of lake and lake bed.

“No detailed project report was submitted seeking permission for any project which is a must according to the KLCDA Act. We got to know of it when locals complained to us. My team, after inspection, found that the pipes were a threat not only to the lake bed but to the lake too,” she said.

KLCDA had received over nine complaints from locals pertaining to encroachment and illegal dumping. “Though the BDA has verbally told us that the minor irrigation department has stopped the work, we are not convinced and have sought a detailed report. After we get the report, we will inspect the site again and if we are not satisfied, action will be taken against BDA and minor irrigation department in accordance with the KLCDA Act,” said Seema.

Prof T V Ramachandra from Centre for Ecological Sciences, IISc, said he is against any changes to the lake, be it physical or chemical. “NGT should step in and take up the matter,” he said.

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