Now, Forest dept wants to develop all lakes

Now, Forest dept wants to develop all lakes

Forest, Ecology and Environment Minister R Shankar said on Wednesday that his department had volunteered to take care of all water bodies in the state, including Bengaluru’s notorious Bellandur lake.

“I have discussed with Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy a proposal to hand over all lakes to the Forest department. A decision on this will be taken soon,” Shankar told reporters.

The previous Congress government had decided to hand over all water bodies to the custody of the minor irrigation department. “Lakes are being fed with sewage from cities constantly because of which the levels of pollution are increasing. There’s a need for better upkeep of lakes,” Shankar said.

The government would also consider increasing subsidy to encourage people discard diesel engine vehicles they own that are over 15 years old. “Presently, the subsidy amount is Rs 30,000, but not enough people are coming forward to avail of the benefit. Old diesel engines significantly add to pollution,” he said.

The minister said he had sought additional budgetary allocation for his department. “At present, the outlay is Rs 1,500 crore. I have asked for another 560 crore,” he said. After the budget, he said a programme will be drawn up to plant 10 crore saplings.