NGT Strikes, Shuts Down Industries Near Bellandur Lake in B’luru

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Wednesday ordered all industries around Bellandur Lake in Bengaluru to be shut and imposed Rs 5 lakh fine on anyone found dumping waste in and around the lake.

The green panel gave the state authorities one month's time to free the lake of all pollutants.

A bench headed by NGT Chief Justice Swatantar Kumar said the industries violating directions should be sealed by the State Pollution Control Board.

Speaking to The News Minute, CEO of Namma Bengaluru Foundation Sridhar Pabbisetty said:

The BBMP, BDA, BWSSB, Karnataka State Lake Development Authority and Karnataka State Pollution Control Board have been asked to form a committee under Mahendra Jain, Additional Chief Secretary, Urban Development Department, to conduct a survey around Bellandur Lake and submit a report to the state government. The tribunal has granted the agencies one month time to divert the sewage flow into the lake and six months for complete clean-up.

He further went on to add, “The NGT has directed the agencies to not call for tenders and clean up the lake themselves. It has also stated that a fine of Rs 5 lakh will be imposed on apartments, housing societies which allow sewage to flow into the rajakaluves (storm water drains). Strict action will be taken against civic agencies if they neglect this issue and they will also be held responsible if sewage flow does not stop.”

The highly polluted Bellandur Lake on 17 February caught fire due to toxic effluents in it. According to reports, the fire could be seen for three hours.

"All the industries located in the vicinity of Bellandur Lake and discharging effluents, either treated or untreated, are hereby directed to be closed," the bench said.

Sridhar Pabbisetty, CEO of Namma Bengaluru FoundationNo industry is permitted to operate unless inspection by a joint inspection team is conducted and analysis of effluents is found to be within the permissible limit.

The bench added that no waste of any kind, either municipal solid waste or domestic waste, is to be dumped at the buffer zone of the lake.

"If anyone is found violating this, he or she shall be liable to pay Rs 5 lakh fine."

The tribunal asked the Karnataka state government, the State Pollution Control Board, Lake Development Authority and Bengaluru Development Authority to start cleaning the lake immediately and report back in one month.

Bellandur Lake, the largest of the 262 lakes and tanks in Bengaluru, receives about 40% of the city's sewage. Previously, in May 2015 and August 2016, froth over the Bellandur Lake had caught fire due to formation of flammable methane gas.