In yet another major attempt to preserve the lakes of Bengaluru the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has today directed for the immediate closure of all industries around the Bellandur lake. NGT has further directed the Karnataka government to clean the lake within one month and also questioned why no action was taken to block entry of sewerage water into it. Earlier, in February a mound of garbage was set to fire in the Bellandur lake.
Slamming the local civic bodies for inaction, a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar also banned dumping of any kind of municipal solid waste around the lake and announced an environment compensation of Rs 5 lakh on anyone found dumping waste in and around the lake.
“All the industries located in the vicinity of Bellandur Lake and discharging effluent are hereby directed to be closed. No industry is permitted to operate unless inspection by a joint inspection team is conducted and analysis of effluent is found to be within the permissible limits,” the bench, which also comprised Justice R S Rathore, said.
The panel has also directed Karnataka’s State Pollution Control Board to seal the industries which are violating the legal norms. Yesterday, NGT took objection to a legal opinion by the state government while interpreting its May 4, 2016 order that had increased the buffer zone of lakes from 30 metres to 75 metres in Bengaluru.
Earlier, the NGT had lashed out at the Karnataka government and its agencies responsible for maintenance of the Bellandur lake, asking them why they should not be prosecuted for negligence following the recent outbreak of fire in the waterbody. 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 suo motu cognisance of media reports and photographs of the incident in which fire broke out in the Bengaluru lake.
“It is reported that there were thick clouds of smoke which severely hit traffic and people living around the lake. It is also reported that usually a pile of garbage around the lake is set on fire and there was total panic. Undoubtedly, such emissions are bound to be have an adverse impact on environment, ecology and human health. It is a matter which requires serious investigation, remedial measures and restoration of the lake to its original wholesome status,” it had said.
Thick cloud of white smoke persisted in the air around Bellandur Lake in Bengaluru after the blaze in a garbage mound around it on February 16.