Army to take up lake issuewith civic authorities

Last Updated 20 January 2018, 19:33 IST

Lieutenant General Vipan Gupta, the commandant of the ASC Centre and College, assured that the situation at the Bellandur lake was under control and the fire had been doused. He added that the Army would take up the issue with the civic authorities.  

Addressing a press conference on Saturday morning, Lt Gen Gupta said that though there have been several instances of fire on the lake in the past, Friday's blaze was of an unprecedented magnitude.

"Our worry is that the fire broke out in about three-four places. Our area was not affected by previous fires but for the first time, it spread towards us. Now, we will take up the case of the lake with the civic authorities," Lt Gen Gupta said.

Around 12.30 pm on Friday afternoon, one of their sentries noticed fumes rising from the lakeside. Once they were alerted, a team  of about 800 army personnel along with reinforcements including three fire tenders were at the spot by 1 pm.  

They also alerted civic authorities. The army worked on dousing the fire and had it under control by 3.30 pm. However, they kept watch on the area and were on the spot when the fire broke out again around 7.30 pm.

"There have been many instances of fire in the past but this is the first time that it spread towards us. We were concerned that it would come into the camp area. The winds also made the fire spread to three-four places, even close to our Iblur firing range," Lt Gen Gupta said.

A total of about 5,000 men were at the spot, working in shifts of around 800 people. It was a joint effort of the army and civilian forces, he said.

In response to allegations that the fire had started from the defence area, Lt Gen Gupta said, "It is up to them to say these things but if you are on the ground, you can clearly see that the fire spread towards us from the Bellandur Lake side."

One army personnel was bitten by a snake during the operation. He was taken to the hospital immediately and is out of danger. Deputy Commandant Major General N S Rajpurohit said the heat from the fire caused reptiles in the marsh to come out of the lake.

Sentries from the ASC Centre will continue to keep an eye on the lake 24x7, Lt Gen Gupta said.

(Published 20 January 2018, 18:20 IST)

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