Smoking near grass might have caused Bellandur Lake fire: Govt

Smoking near grass might have caused Bellandur Lake fire: Govt

Smoking by villagers near grass, which is used as fodder, may have led to the accidental fire at the Bellandur Lake in Bengaluru in January, the government today said.

Minister of State for Environment Mahesh Sharma in a written reply in the Lok Sabha said cutting grass in the lake area by the neighbouring villagers and use it as a fodder for their cattle is a common practice.

He said the ministry has taken note of the massive fire at the lake on January 19.

"It has been observed that dense smoke was releasing from the grass with organic sludge (Muck). Since long it is a common practice of grass cutting in the lake area by the neighbouring villagers to use it as a fodder for their cattle.

"In such time, while they smoke, there may be chances of accidental fire in the grass and this could be the reason for the accidental fire in Bellandur Lake," he said.

He further added that the fire may also be due to igniting debris of biomass, dry plants, solid waste (consisting of predominantly dry grass and waste plastics etc.) and aggravated by methane generation in the lake.

He said the state government has informed that an accidental fire incident in Bellandur Lake took place around 9.30 am at few locations within the lake bed mainly around the Defence area adjacent to tank bed, towards Iblur and Ejipura side.

The fire flaring with orange flames and dense smoke engulfed the Defence area which belongs to ASC Center, Bengaluru, he said.

The defence personnel, state fire force department in coordination with Bengaluru Development Authority (BDA) Officers reached the spot at 11.00 am and all efforts were made to extinguish the fire immediately.

However, as the fire locations were within the water spread area of the tank, the fire force and Defence personnel struggled to reach the fire spots.

"However, the team could restrict the spreading of fire to different parts of the civil and Defence land.

"The team could stop the major fire havocs duly by extinguishing the fire in the ground area and restricting the same in the water spread area of the tank," he said.

He said the state government has taken all preventive measures to address the froth issue at Bellandur Lake waste weir points.

The measures include fixing of wire net mesh to a height of 20 feet (6 m) to prevent the air disbursal of froth all along waste weir length near Bellandur road crossing, ensuring that there is no froth in the lake anywhere and froth is occurring only at the waste weirs, among others, he said.  

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