Bengaluru: The National Green Tribunal has asked the Karnataka Government to transfer Rs 500 crore to an escrow account to implement an action plan to rejuvenate Bellandur Lake.

The government was also directed to pay Rs 50 crore as environmental compensation/penalty, which shall be deposited with Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for the restoration of the environment.

The NGT has slapped a fine of Rs 25 crore on the BBMP, out of which Rs 10 crore will be transferred to Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB).

The order further said that the government should furnish a performance guarantee to execute the action plan in a time-bound manner failing which the state could be asked to pay Rs 100 crore.

Accepting the recommendations of the Panjwani Committee Report that says no pollutant should be discharged into the lakes and Storm Water Drains, the Tribunal has constituted a Committee to oversee the implementation of the directions. The Committee will be headed by Justice Santosh Hegde, former Judge, Supreme Court of India, Dr T.V. Ramachandra, lead Scientist, IISc and a nominee of CPCB, KSPCB.

The Tribunal noted that the two biggest lakes, Bellandur and Varthur have become the largest septic tanks in the city due to sheer callousness and indifference of the authorities.

‘The lakes are filled up with sewage, effluents, solid municipal waste, construction & demolition waste (debris) and weed, resultantly there is not even one millilitre of clean water in them,’ the Tribunal observed saying this was nothing short of an environmental emergency.

The Namma Bengaluru Foundation has welcomed the verdict and stated that it would not only support the committee in restoring the lakes, but would also on its own rigorously pursue the prosecution of those who have violated norms.

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