Why should Bellandur burn only before NGT hearings? asks K J George

Why should Bellandur burn only before NGT hearings? asks K J George

Bengaluru Development Minister K J George raised doubts on the timing of the fires that happened at the Bellandur Lake, as his "surprise visit" to the lakeside led to more discontent among the locals.

Flanked by bureaucrats, the minister was taken to the lake's fenced area on Sunday where a JCB was clearing garbage and the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike was carrying out civil works.

After the inspection, George asked if the timing of the fire incidents, coming as they did just before the National Green Tribunal hearings, was actually a coincidence.

"It could be manmade," George told the media, asserting that the blaze had ripped through the dry grass nearby and not the lake itself.

"It needs to be investigated if someone has intentionally set off the flames. Directions have been issued to complete the (installation of) Sewage Treatment Plants and other works by (the year) 2020," George added.

The government would clear industrial sheds from the lakeside and provide alternatives for them, George assured.  

The minister also said the lake's water was used to douse the fire on the marshy area surrounding it. While not denying that the lake water was polluted, he pointed out that it has just 0.01% methane, expressing further doubts on its flammability.

While the monitoring committee criticised the measures taken by the government, the minister said it should note the considerable work done for the lake's protection.

He said work on installing the sluice gates has begun along with creating wetlands and more aerators will be fixed to improve the water quality.

George was accompanied by additional chief secretary, urban development, Mahendra Jain and Bangalore Development Authority commissioner Rakesh Singh.

Locals, however, complained that they were not allowed to voice their concerns to the minister. "We were not aware (of the inspection)," said a resident. "We were not allowed to interact with him as the officials who accompanied him said it was a surprise visit and the minister didn't have time."

Comments (+)