Bengaluru Buzz: Shutters down for Graphite India | Study shows shrinking lakes | Aero show security… and more

WEEKLY NEWS ROUNDUP FROM BENGALURU

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Residents have been protesting against Graphite India for years. Pic: Whitefield Rising

KSPCB orders closure of Graphite India

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Whitefield residents won their two-decade-long battle to get Graphite India Limited (GIL) shut down. The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) issued an order to stop GIL’s industrial operations and processes that polluted the area.

The order clarified that clearance had been given to GIL to operate in Mahadevapura till June 30, 2020, but this was being withdrawn with immediate effect. The KSPCB issued the order under Section 31(A) of the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, read with Rule 20(A) of Karnataka Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Rules, 1983. The order was issued after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) upheld KSPCB’s withdrawal of consent for the factory in 2012. KSPCB’s 2012 order had been overturned by an appellate authority, and hence hadn’t been implemented.

Whitefield Rising celebrated its win, recalling its 20-year-old “campaign for justice” by the citizens who had been affected badly. “Citizens of Mahadevapura are united and keeping a close watch, and will no longer sit by when small and big factories or organizations break all the rules with impunity,” said a Whitefield Rising statement.

Source: The Hindu / The News MinuteDeccan Herald

Encroachments increase around Bellandur and Varthur lakes 

A geo-spatial analysis by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) shows that built-up areas are expanding around the severely polluted Bellandur and Varthur lakes. These developments are coming up within the lakes’ buffer zone of 75 metres, set by the National Green Tribunal (NGT).

Within the buffer zone of Bellandur lake, the built-up area has shot up by 45 percent in 2016, at the cost of agriculture and horticulture. In Varthur lake’s buffer zone, the built-up area rose from 5 to 30 percent in 15 years.

Also, tank bed encroachment has increased due to the dumping of debris and soil, as per the report from the Energy and Wetlands Research Group under the Centre for Ecological Science, IISc. The wetlands that form the valley between Bellandur and Varthur lakes have also reduced from 98.5 percent in 2002 to 25.6 percent today.

The NGT’s 75-metre buffer limit is being challenged in the courts by the State government and the BBMPin an effort to reduce the buffer zone around lakes to 30 metres.

The ‘Bellandur and Varthur Lakes Rejuvenation Blueprint’ by IISc says that the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) can earn about Rs 2,000 crore by disposing off silt from the two lakes. Over 6.6 million cubic metres of silt from the Bellandur lake and 3.8 million cubic metres of silt from Varthur lake can be sold to industries. The NGT Expert Committee and the Bellandur Lake Expert Committee pointed out that improper silt management was making it difficult to rejuvenate the lakes.

Source: The Hindu | Deccan Herald

Major security arrangements for Aero show

Rafael fighters, the home-made civil transport plane Saras, and the Airbus are some of the highlights in this year’s Aero India biennial show and aviation exhibition from February 20 to 24. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited is making preparations for the show at Air Force Station, Yelahanka, reported The Hindu.

Due to a “digital threat“, special focus is being given to cyber security, especially data protection of foreign delegates, along with the traditional cameras and access management systems. Police is seeking Aadhar details of residents nearby as part of “security verification” under the behest of the Intelligence Bureau and state intelligence department, reported the Times of India.

One of the biggest of its kind in Asia, the show had attracted more than 5.4 lakh visitors in 2017. There are 21 sub-committees and 100 officers to organise the event, and more than 900 contract workers who are working furiously to put up barricades, hangars and other facilities.

Source: The Hindu | The Times of India

BGS Trust directed to stop polluting Mylasandra lake

The Karnataka Forest Department directed BGS Trust to stop letting sewage into the 19-acre Mylasandra lake within 15 days, reported the Times of India. The Forest Department is the custodian of the lake located in Turahalli forest, southwest of the city. BGS Trust runs a students’ hostel and a hospital that have been letting sewage into the lake.

Residents of Rajarajeshwari Nagar and Mylasandra have been struggling to protect the lake for months. In January, they had met the authorities of BGS Trust and asked them to stop pollution within a week. However, the problem was not resolved. The Forest Department warned that “strict action” would be taken against the offending Trust if it did not comply with the orders.

Source: The Times of India

Cable operators protest

Cable operators protested against Multiple System Operators (MSOs) who operate local cable networks, for switching off services. MSOs had switched off cable services, asking consumers to shift to the a la carte system as per the recent TRAI guidelines. This was a move to force users to migrate immediately, according to V S Patrick Raju, President, Karnataka State Cable TV Operators’ Association. It would be preferable to effect migration gradually, he said.

While TRAI has shifted the deadline for migration to March 31, it has not stopped MSOs from forcing migration at present, he added. Cable operators have opposed TRAI guidelines over the last two months on grounds that the revenue sharing has not been worked out and was “unviable”. The new system would force consumers to pay more for fewer channels. Raju said the association would oppose TRAI in the Karnataka High Court.

Source: The Hindu | The Times of India

Fighting plastic on V-Day 

Valentine’s Day again raised tempers, but for a different reason. BBMP’s Special Commissioner (Solid Waste Management) D Randeep directed the Chief Health Officer and other officials to seize the plastic used to wrap bouquets and to penalise florists, reported The Hindu. Officials were directed to locate florist hotspots. Randeep said that bouquets and flower arrangements were the biggest violators of the plastic ban, but that it was difficult to apprehend the large number of vendors across the city. Even the florists who do avoid plastic, use non-woven polypropylene sheets under the impression that these are cloth and not plastic.

Source: The Hindu

[Compiled by Revathi Sivakumar]

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