Bengaluru Bellandur Lake fire: Bengaluru’s highly polluted Bellandur Lake caused panic among thousands of city residents as it caused yet another huge fire on Friday. However, the blaze was brought under control and the cooling operations still continue in the lake that had caught fire yesterday. According to Defence officials, a strong contingent of 5,000 army jawans of the ASC centre led by Major General N S Rajpurohit doused the fire in the lake. On Friday, the locals noticed huge clouds of smoke billowing from the lake replete with sewage, chemical effluents and construction debris. The fire was in the middle of the wetlands, fire brigade officials said.
Soon pictures and videos of the smoke and fire went viral even as various government agencies and Defence personnel doused the blaze, which also raised concerns about the apathy of civic agencies towards a recurring problem in the lake. Spread over 1,000 acres near the infotech hub, the lake is highly contaminated receiving 60 percent of the sewage generated in the city.
The operation wasn’t an easy one, even for the Army. One personnel was reportedly bitten by a snake while he was trying to douse off the fire as snakes and many reptiles came out due to heat. However, he is now out of danger. The Army jawans are still on alert in case they are needed once again.
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The lake is in bad shape despite the National Green Tribunal pulling up the government and its various agencies for failing to prevent pollution and not doing enough to restore the lake to its pristine glory. Bengaluru Mayor R Sampath Raj said the fire seems to be an outcome of the accumulation of chemicals. The water samples will be collected and tested to find the reason behind the fire, he said.
Bellandur Lake once again caught fire at 4 different spots on Friday afternoon. The fires are being reported closers to the DRDO and Army Firing range premises in Iblur.
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Following the incident, a blame game erupted between the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board and the defence department. KSPCB chairman Lakshman alleged that the fire started from the land held by the defence department and spread to the lake area. “Actual cause of the fire is not known.It started from the defence area. We have taken the samples of the water and will send it to lab for ascertaining the reasons behind the fire,” Lakshman said. The defence department maintained that the fire was in the lake area and not anywhere near the land held by it.
The Bellandur lake had caught fire in May 2015 and August 2016, also. In 2015, the lake had turned into a frothy, foam-filled water body due to the high concentration of pollutants in the water. Foam from the lake had spilled onto the roads and other areas surrounding the lake. The Varthur lake also had caught fire in May, 2017 when some garbage was set ablaze.