The recently submitted report by the court-appointed commission on the state of Bellandur Lake to the National Green Tribunal on Bellandur Lake observed there is not even one millilitre of clean water in the lake “but the same was filled up with sewage, effluents, solid waste, weed, debris et al”(sic).
The 329-page report was submitted to NGT on May 31 and was made public only on June 12. The report was shared with the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and stakeholders on June 11. In the report accessed by DH, the commission termed the situation of Bellandur and Varthur lakes as nothing short of a state of environmental emergency.
“It is of utmost importance to take up construction of sewage treatment plants. By sheer callousness and indifference of the authorities, the biggest lake has become the largest septic tank,” the panel said.
The commission observed that directions issued by NGT to correct the mischief have not been complied with in letter and spirit as untreated effluent and sewage indiscriminately continue to pollute the lakes. The commission also pointed out: “The condition of Varthur Lake is no better – in fact, worse than Bellandur Lake in almost every aspect from fire to froth and from sewage to stink. Varthur is an aggravated calamity by the sheer volume of filth that is dumped in it without any ecological sensitivity.”
The report also highlighted the illegal road construction by the minor irrigation department on Varthur Lake. It also brought to NGT’s notice that just before the commission’s visit to Bellandur and Varthur, encroachers were evicted from the buffer zones. But now, after the commission’s visit, 100 families have come back and construction is in full swing with support from local goons, politicians and officials. These sheds are in the lake bed (buffer zone of the lake) and carry out illegal waste processing.
Mahendra Jain, additional chief secretary, Urban Development Department said they received the report only two days ago and they were examining it. He said that whatever recommendations have been made in the report will be complied with. Expediting STP construction is not possible because of the cost and size of the plants, he said.