Early on Sunday morning, the Varthur and Bellandur lakes were visited by the Chief Secretary of the state, Subhash Chandra Kunthia. He was accompanied by the BDA Commissioner Rakesh Singh and a team of senior officials from various departments concerned with conservation and rejuvenation of lakes in the city. Other officials from the Pollution Control board, BBMP and BWSSB were also present and apprised the chief secretary of the happenings in the area.
Local residents, who have been fighting to save the lakes, have treated this visit as a positive step forward on part of the state government but do not want this visit to just be a photo opportunity on part of the senior officials.
A hearing on the Bellandur lake fire is to be held on March 20 with the National Green Tribunal and residents hope this visit was not just to save face but to actually understand and begin solving the problem.
The senior officials were bombarded with suggestions and requests by the local residents to stop the dumping of debris, untreated sewage and industrial waste into the lakes. They also expressed concern on the new initiative of diverting untreated sewage from Sarjapur and Haralur areas to the Bellandur lake in the guise of cleaning the nearby Iblur lake.
The chief secretary promised to look into this issue and also agreed to the fact that the diversion plan is prima facie illegal.
Among the many demands by the residents to be implemented immediately is the need to set up an STP at the lake inlet to ensure no untreated sewage enters the lake and fencing of the lake borders to avoid further encroachments.