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KSPCB’s Rs 270 crore fine on Bellandur polluters remains largely uncollected  

As per the estimates done in 2021, more than 583 MLD of sewage flows into Bellandur, of which about 100 MLD was untreated.
Last Updated : 16 October 2023, 20:56 IST
Last Updated : 16 October 2023, 20:56 IST

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More than two years after imposing a fine of Rs 271.50 crore on establishments polluting the Bellandur lake, the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) could collect barely a fraction of the amount.

That apart, the KSPCB has also extended the deadline to rejuvenate Bellandur and Varthur lakes to December 2024.

In February 2021, the board said that it identified 91 polluting industries in Bellandur operating without a sewage treatment plant (STP).

After a rap from the National Green Tribunal (NGT), officials served notices on the polluting units.

On Monday, Forest, Ecology and Environment Minister Eshwar B Khandre said that he examined 58 units levied with a fine of Rs 3 crore each and about 120 units facing a penalty of Rs 3 lakh each under the polluter pays principle.

“The board has been able to recover about Rs 4 crore only. There are challenges in recovering the penalty as the dwellers point to builders as the culprits. We are looking into the issue to find a solution,” he said.

As per the estimates done in 2021, more than 583 MLD of sewage flows into Bellandur, of which about 100 MLD was untreated. Officials have since brought down the untreated wastewater, which has been diverted downstream, away from the lake.

Khandre said completing construction of the STPs alone will not solve the problem. Stating that the government is committed to rejuvenating the Bellandur and Varthur lakes and has allocated about Rs 1,900 crore for the purpose, he said: “We are taking up short-term measures.”

“I personally believe providing underground drainage in all the 110 villages has been added to the BBMP (Projects). Constructing STPs to treat all the sewage flowing towards Bellandur are important long-term measures,” he added.

Admitting delay in desilting Bellandur lake, the minister cited the reason given by the contractor that transporting the silt to South Bengaluru is allowed only in the night.

On sewage entering the Varthur lake after last week’s heavy rains, Khandre said he will look into the issue.

He reiterated that short-term measures like diverting wastewater will not help.

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Published 16 October 2023, 20:56 IST

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