The National Green Tribunal has summoned top officials of the Karnataka government to explain what action they have taken to clean the Bellandur lake in Bengaluru, where carcinogenic foam has been frothing again over the past few days.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar directed that the Additional Chief Secretary of Department of Urban Development and Chief Executive Officer of the Lake Development Authority to appear before it on August 22.
During the hearing, the NGT was informed that fresh froth has emanated from Bellandur lake and spread on to the streets of the surrounding areas due to the recent rains. Local residents have reportedly complained of pungent stench from the lake and the froth, reminding of the presence of toxic substances there.
“The Additional Chief Secretary of Urban Development, Karnataka and the CEO of Lake Development Authority, Bengaluru shall be present before the tribunal on the next date. They shall inform the tribunal as to what steps has been taken by them to comply with the directions issued to them from time to time, particularly in relation to Bellandur lake and Rajakaluves (storm water drain) etc,” the bench, also comprising Justice R S Rathore, said.
The tribunal had earlier directed authorities to ensure the closure of 76 polluting industries around Bengaluru’s Bellandur lake and ordered the city’s Deputy Commissioner and the authorities to ensure immediate disconnection of water and electric supply to these industries.
Slamming the local civic bodies for inaction, the bench had banned dumping of any municipal solid waste around the lake and announced an environment compensation of Rs five lakh on anyone found dumping waste in and around the lake. The NGT had also lashed out at the Karnataka government and its agencies responsible over lack of maintenance of the Bellandur lake, asking them why they should not be prosecuted for negligence.
It had earlier issued notice to the Union Environment Ministry, the Karnataka government, Lake Authority of Bangalore, state pollution control board and Central Pollution Control Board in the case. On February 20, the NGT had taken cognisance on its own of media reports and photographs of the incident in which a fire broke out in the Bengaluru lake. Thick clouds of white smoke persisted for several days in the air around the Bellandur lake after the blaze.