A day after a massive fire erupted in Bellandur lake, Bengaluru Development Minister K J George on Saturday said that he had requested Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to allocate separate fund for the upkeep of the lake, in the 2018-19 budget.
Speaking to reporters in Bengaluru, George said that the government was forced to resort to this measure, as the Centre had refused to release funds for Bellandur lake.
"The BJP has charged that the state government has not cleaned up the lake despite the Centre sanctioning funds for the same. The fact however is that the Centre has not responded to the state's request for funding. It has categorically said that it cannot make separate funding for this purpose," he added.
George, however, maintained that the government had taken measures to clean up the lake as directed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT).
He said that the government had adhered to the NGT orders and that notices had been issued by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board to buildings that were releasing waste water into the lake.
George also said that the police had been asked to ascertain how the fires were occurring.
He said that it was unlikely the fire was emanating from the lake. Instead it was suspected that the marshy land around the lake was catching fire. "The marshy land has a lot of grass and weed growth. Also, it is replete with ammonium gases, which is causing the fire," he said.
Lake visit by BJP leaders
BJP leader and Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar is scheduled to pay a visit to the lake at 5 pm today (Saturday). BJP MP P C Mohan, MLA Aravind Limbavali and other party legislators will be accompanying him.
Operations still underway
Meanwhile, over 100 Fire and Emergency personnel on Saturday continued the operations to douse the fire in Bellandur lake.
The Fire personnel have, to an extent, managed to douse the fire but heavy smoke from the fire has filled a vast stretch of the lake.
Manoranjan Roy, a soldier of Army Service Corps, was bitten by a snake during the operation to douse fire. He was rushed to the Army Hospital.