In a hearing on April 7, the High Court directed that the report submitted by the committee on March 3 should be implemented. The court order said that the following should be taken up on war footing: surveying lakes to demarcate boundaries and erect fences, identifying and removing encroachments, removing silt and weeds and laying bund where necessary, and stopping sewage flow into lakes. These tasks should be completed and reported to the court for further directions. Chief Justice J S Khehar said that the process initiated to protect Bangalore’s lakes will be applied across other districts.
Excerpts from the report
Only 31 out of the 189 lakes within BBMP limits, are in good shape, says a report submitted by a High Court-appointed committee. Other than these 189 lakes, 53 lakes were converted for other uses and another 68 lakes – most of which are encroached or dried up – are yet to be verified.
The committee headed by High Court judge N K Patil, comprised the head officers of BBMP, BDA, BWSSB, KSPCB (Karnataka State Pollution Control Board), LDA (Lake Development Authority), and Town Planning, Revenue, Forest and Minor Irrigation departments.
The committee’s report, which suggested an action plan for restoring all Bengaluru lakes, was accepted by the HC on March 4. The committee was appointed while hearing a PIL filed by the NGO Environment Support Group, against the privatisation of Bangalore lakes.
The committee’s action plan includes restoration of 389 lakes within – this includes 189 lakes in BBMP limits, 179 lakes in Zilla Panchayat (ZP) limits, 18 lakes under Minor Irrigation department, two lakes under the Ministry of Defence (MEG) and one under agreement with NICE. All lakes have to be restored by 2014.
Lakes within BBMP limits
There are 189 lakes within BBMP limits – of these 31 lakes are already developed, 24 are being restored; remaining 134 lakes are yet to be developed.
The responsibility of the 189 lakes is divided among different agencies – 129 of them are under BBMP, 44 are under BDA, 11 are under LDA and five are under KFD (Karnataka Forest Department).
The report says that BBMP does not have resources to restore 98 undeveloped lakes coming under it. It would need Rs 262 crore for developing these lakes. Currently BBMP is restoring 18 lakes, for which Rs 174.11 crore has been allocated. So far 13 lakes have been developed.
KFD needs budgetary support of Rs 3.05 crore for developing Puttenahalli (Yelahanka), Mylasandra and Jarakbandekaval lakes and for maintaining the already developed Madiwala and Hennur lakes.
BDA has committed to develop its lakes through its own funds. It plans to develop 31 lakes including Bellandur and Varthur lakes – cost estimates for this are not ready. BDA has already developed seven lakes at the cost of Rs 23.18 crore; another six lakes are being restored at the cost of Rs 43.98 crore.
LDA will restore two lakes through internal resources and budgetary support, cost estimates for this is not given in the report.
Other actions to be taken
- 121 other lakes in BBMP limits, which were converted or encroached, should be verified by BBMP, Revenue department and LDA by December 2011, after which action plan will be made
- ZP should complete survey, encroachment removal and fencing of its 179 lakes by end of 2012. Minor Irrigation (MI) department should do the same works for its 18 lakes by March 2012; MI has received grants from 13th Central Finance Commission for this. Both bodies should complete all restoration works by 2014.
- BWSSB sewer lines should be laid in new BBMP areas and replaced in core areas. 24 new STPs will total 639 MLD capacity to be set up at the cost of Rs 5972 cr (only Rs 1686 cr is allocated now). Time given till 2014.
- KSPCB should do water quality analysis for all lakes twice within one year
- Mandatory inspection by engineers of custodian bodies annually and the report of this to be webhosted
- LDA should webhost information on all lakes – maps, records, restoration works, lake profile etc – with the help of Revenue department
- BWSSB should complete a study in one year on using lakes to augment drinking water supply, and reuse of waste water after tertiary treatment
Here are the action plans listed for the city’s lakes. The data presented by the government agencies in some cases are incomplete.