Pipeline to Kolar chokes Varthur Lake

Pipeline to Kolar chokes Varthur Lake

Tons of debris and mud dumped right inside the canal linking Bellandur with Varthur lakes are a clear violation of the National Green Tribunal (NGT)'s 75m buffer zone restrictions. But they have an official sanction: The Minor Irrigation department's pipeline project to take treated water from the city to Kolar.

In Bellandur Ammanikere, adjacent to the new BWSSB Sewage Treatment Plants (STP), the dumping has reduced the canal to a narrow strip. Truckloads of debris and mud are being unloaded deep inside the canal boundary. While no attempt is made to clear the existing encroachments, the pipeline project could end up threatening the very existence of Varthur lake, warn lake experts.

The project was conceived in 2015 to use Bengaluru's treated sewage water to recharge the groundwater level in Kolar. The plan is to send the water to 121 parched tanks in Kolar and five in Chikkaballapur for agricultural use. Construction work had begun in July 2016, and the project is expected to be completed in 2018.

The pipeline project was planned in a hurry and is being executed without consideration for the grave consequences to the lake and wetland ecosystem of Bellandur and Varthur, says Dr T V Ramachandra from the Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science.

The encroachment, he says, is a "clear violation of the physical integrity of the lake. This is a serious issue. The Bangalore Development Authority and Minor Irrigation Department should respond. BDA is also inactive in removing the existing encroachments. The entire catchment's topography is being altered."

What has further upset the lake conservationists is this: The project has virtually taken over the buffer zone of the critical Rajakaluves, and even ventured deeper to build roads. "There is absolutely no clarity whether the trucks dumping debris are part of the project or not," notes a Bellandur-based lake activist, Elangoven.

The virtual blockade of the Rajakaluve at Bellandur Ammanikere had triggered flooding in Tubarahalli and Munekollela during the recent rains. "The entire K&C Valley stormwater and sewage is now directed through just three pipes," he points out.

The pipeline work had also breached the bund on one side of Varthur lake's waste weir. This resulted in drying up of a part of the lake. Result: Unlike other lakes in the city, the water body could not benefit from the record rainfall.

DH News Service

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