A massive fire engulfed a private land-turned-garbage dumping spot close to Varthur Lake in southeastern Bengaluru on Tuesday evening.
Fire tenders, lake marshals and civil defence teams fought for an hour to put out the leaping flames that engulfed an acre of land behind the Sobha Dream Acres along Varthur Road in Balagere.
Local residents and Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) officials said the land was turned into an illegal segregation spot and dumping yard. The land is spread over five acres and the place gutted by fire was close to the lake. This is one of several incidents this year where a place close to the lake was in flames.
BDA officials assured that all emergency services were pressed into action and the situation was brought under control by 9.30 pm. The place engulfed by flames was not the lakebed.
Locals noticed the leaping flames at 8 pm and alerted the patrolling marshals who contacted the fire force. Local resident Jagadish Reddy, who also works on protecting the lake, said illegal garbage segregation units operate around the lake. He also alleged that people dump large amounts of garbage next to the residential complex and sometimes even in the lake.
The segregation units thrived despite frequent visits by Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) officials to the spot for the past five years and rigorous inspections in the last three months.
As was the case during the previous fire incidents in Bellandur and Varthur lakes, BDA officials assured a thorough probe and action, while the locals accused the BBMP and BDA officials of not acting against owners of empty sites and those dumping garbage. They said lake marshals were kept powerless to penalise the offenders.