Bellandur Lake is 130 years old and spreads across an area of 892 acres. It is located at latitude of 12°58’ N and longitude of 77°35’ E at an altitude of 921 m above mean sea level. It is the largest lake in east Bangalore.
Bellandur tank is part of the Bellandur drainage system that drains the southern and the Southeastern parts of the city. The tank is a receptor from three chains of tanks. One chain, originates in the north, from Jayamahal, covers the eastern portion and has been referred to as the eastern stream. Another chain originates from the central part of the city, from around the K.R.Market area and covers the central portion and is called the central stream. The other chain, that reaches the tank is through the south-western region and is called the western stream. The catchment area of Bellandur tank is an area of about 148 sq kms. Water from this tank flows further east to the Varthur tank, from where it flows down the plateau and eventually into the Pinakani river basin.
In 1970s people from as many as 18 villages depended on the waters of Bellandur tank to lead their lives. These included Haralur, Aambalapura, Kudlu, Balagere, Hanathuru, Devara bisanahalli, Kadu bisanahalli, Nagasandra, Kempapura, Belur, Ramagondinahalli, Siddapura, Munne Kolalu, Yemlur, Kariyammana Agrahara, Bhoganahalli and Gunjur.
Due to urbanization in 1980s, there was breakage of chains of tanks feeding the lake. The breakage in chains, unchecked industrial, residential as well as commercial development, resulted in insufficient rainwater reaching the tank and excess untreated sewerage and effluents laden water flow to the tank. This further led to a decrease in aquatic life, which affected the livelihoods of the fishing community. During the nineties a land near the lake was notified as ring road. This was the period when the city pf Bangalore witnessed the growth of Information Technology Industries. Presently a large part of the Bellandur tank is covered by weeds. The colour of the water is dark and opaque in appearance. There is also a foul stench coming from it. There are hardly any birds visible near the tank. At the outlets, downstream of the lake, heavy foaming is visible, indicative of the presence of effluents.
In 1996, PIL was filed by the Bellandur gram panchayat approached the High court (HC) of Karnataka to prevent the pollution of the lake. The sewage treatment plant at the inflow of the lake was upgraded as a result. In1997, fishermen groups from Yemlur, Kempapura and nearby places petitioned against the then Chief Minister of the state as the polluted lake affected the fish population. The petition passed on to the fisheries department who released baby fish into lake for increasing their numbers, these fish lings did not survive due to heavy pollution. In 1999, the High Court ordered the BWSSB to supply potable water to residents in Bellandur and proper treatment of the sewage in the STP. Following the authorities’ lack of compliance to the HC directives, another petition on contempt of court was filed. The case is still pending before the Lok Adalat.
Three PILs have filed to save the Bellandur Lake. The HC passed judgements for the first two PILs. The third PIL was filed for ack of compliance to the HC directives by the authorities. This case is still pending in the Lok Adalat of Karnataka.
Bellandur gram panchayat approached the High court (HC) to prevent the pollution of the lake.
Panchayat President Jagannath Reddy and environmental activist Ramamurthy, supported by villagers initiated court proceedings to get the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) to clean up the tank and prevent untreated sewage from flowing into it. The sewage treatment plant at the inflow of the lake was upgraded as a result.
Fishermen groups from Yemlur, Kempapura and nearby places petitioned against the chief minister as the polluted lake affected the fish population. The Fisheries department introduces baby fish into lake for increasing their numbers, which do not survive due to heavy pollution.
The catchment area of the lake was brought under the notification by the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) to convert it to be a part of the ring road linking ITPL and Electronic City
The Lake was declared unfit for 1997 National Games due to high rate of siltation.
After the 1997 notification on outer ring road, a farmer’s association from Bellandur and surrounding areas protested against the land acquisition by BDA. The Raitha Horata Samiti, on of the activists, was partially successful in getting BDA to alter their route plan, retaining some of the notified land in the process.
The High Court ordered immediate measures to supply potable water to residents in Bellandur and proper treatment of the sewage in the STP. Following the authorities’ lack of compliance to the HC directives, another petition on contempt of court was filed. It is still pending before the Lok Adalat.
Resident welfare groups in Koramangala demanded to prevent sewage mixing with the storm water drain flowing into the Lake. The state unilaterally decided to privatize some of the lakes and tanks around Bangalore.
The Lake Development Authority (LDA), was set up in 2002 to look after the lakes of Bangalore
According to the Lake Development Authority, Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) kept throwing the untreated sewage into the lake as the Koramangala and Challaghatta valley sewage treatment plant has a capacity to treat just 20 million litres per day (MLD) while the inflow into the valley is 384 MLD. This resulted in Rs 1.82 crore already spent on clean-up operations go waste.
This realization dawned on the Lake Development Authority only in 2005 and the project itself was abandoned in November.
According to the Karnataka Pollution Control the contractors Bangalore Mahanagar Palike continued to dump garbage in the lake.
Environmentalist A.N. Yellappa Reddy urged the Lake Development Authority, Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board, Karnataka State Pollution Control Board and other concerned agencies to clean up the polluted Bellandur Lake. Officials of the BWSSB planned to increase the capacity of STPs by 55 million litres a day (MLD) from 163 MLD.
Ram appealed to the Deputy Commissioner (Urban) of Bangalore district for the same. No response.
The Lake Development Authority-received a nod from the Ministry of Environment and Forests to restore this old lake using bio-remedial techniques at an estimated cost of about Rs 5.5 crores to 7 crores.
Ram made similar complaint to Karnataka Information Commission (KIC). First hearing for the case took place. The Tahsildar was directed to ascertain whether the survey report of Bellandur tank (conducted during September 2006) was made available to Ram.
Second hearing. Case disposed. The drawings of the encroachments on Bellandur were not ready with the Gasholder and hence could not be given Ram. The Commission directed the Tashildar to furnish correct drawings at the earliest.
Second reminder by Ram. No response.
Third reminder by Ram.No response.
KIC sends a show cause notice to the Tashildar, No response although the stipulated time is over.