The Bellandur Lake is in the news nowadays because the Lake which once acted as a major source of water to the city of Bangalore, Karnataka has now been converted to a sewage drain completely. The dumping started in the late 90’s when the people of the region started depending on river Cauvery for their water requirements.
Although the government had upgraded the existing Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) after the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) of the Bellandur gram panchayat in 1996, yet the STP was unable to treat the sewage completely. The untreated sewage started to flow into the lake. This not only polluted the lake water but also added contaminants to the water recharged below the ground. Today the vegetable growing around the lake tastes differently and there is a rapid decline of fishes in the lake. Everyone agrees that it is impossible to clean the lake. The builders of the new apartments developed on the encroached lake beds invest crores of rupees to bring water through piped supply. The local residents who depend still on the lake water suffer skin and respiratory diseases. Presently the state of the lake is in very poor state and the PIL is either lying pending in the court or there is no response of the High court directives.
State of PIL for the Bellandur Lake
Bellandur gram panchayat approached the High court (HC) to prevent the pollution of the lake. The sewage treatment plant at the inflow of the Lake was upgraded.
Fishermen groups from Yemlur, Kempapura and nearby places petitioned 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 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.
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.
RTI activist C.H. Ram placed application to the Tashilder East and Minor Irrigation department for cleaning of the lakes. No response.
Ram appealed to the Deputy Commissioner (Urban) of Bangalore district for the same. No response.
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 Tashilder and hence could not be given Ram. The Commission directed the Tashilder to furnish correct drawings at the earliest.
Reminder by Ram to the Chief Information Commissioner, Karnataka to respond to the case. No response.
Second reminder by Ram. No response.
Third reminder by Ram. No response
KIC sends a show cause notice to the Tashilder, East for delay of submission of report. No response although the stipulated time is over.