CCTV cameras failed to secure lake, says officials

CCTV cameras failed to secure lake, says officials

The five CCTV cameras installed by the BBMP around Bellandur Lake to discourage garbage dumping has clearly failed, according to officials and locals.

No cameras had been installed on the Iblur side - at the defence-owned land - where the lake began smoldering on Friday. "The cameras were meant to act as deterrents," said Sandeep Sudarshan, resident of Embassy Pristine apartments in Varthur.

"But the dumping continues unabated, if the fire and methane stench are any evidence," Sudarshan added.

Lakshman, chairman, Karnataka State Pollution Control Board, agreed that the cameras had failed to deter people from piling garbage. Spot inspection revealed mounds of garbage in and around the lake.

A senior BDA official, seeking anonymity, admitted there are financial constraints in maintaining the cameras and security guards. "The BDA is short-staffed. We have decided to ask the KSPCB and the central government to protect the lake," he said.

'Don't blame govt'

He also accused the locals of backing out of the citizen watch group set up to monitor the lake. "They promised, but did not act on it," regretted the official. "If only they had kept vigil, the fire wouldn't have started. It is always easy to blame the government, but the sewage swirling in the lake is there for the past 30 years. Citizens should also be accountable."

Lakshman said cameras were not installed in the defence land at Iblur since it is forbidden. "They should allow cameras and help us now," he said.

Despite strident claims by the BBMP that the cameras are working, a sceptical Mayor R Sampath Raj has sought a detailed report with footage from the joint commissioner of Mahadevapura. "I've asked joint commissioner Vasanthi to submit the report by Monday," Raj said, vowing to examine the footage.

The mayor has called a meeting of his officials to discuss the latest fire on the lake. "I've also learnt that someone sought permission from the defence to cut grass. It's quite possible that those who ventured into the defence land had set off the fire, either accidentally or by design. This is why defence personnel came to the rescue immediately," he added.

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