HC pushes for restoration and rejuvenation of Agara and Bellandur lakes

High Court asked the LDA to come up with a plan for restoration of both the lakes, and hold meetings of authorities, builders and the residents. Pic: Shree D N

A report submitted by the Lake Development Authority (LDA) to the High Court of Karnataka on April 13th, has revealed the sorry state of the two lakes: Agara and Bellandur. The report explains how the lakes shrunk in last one and a half decade and the threats they are facing in the form of land loss and sewage flow.

LDA submitted the report to the HC during the hearing of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Namma Bengaluru Foundation (NBF) and others against the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) coming up in Agara lake and Bellandur wetlands. In the last hearing of the petition, the Court had directed the LDA to submit a report on the status of Agara and Bellandur lakes over the years.

The report filed by the LDA along with satellite images of both the lakes captured between 2002 and 2014, confirms that the size of the lakes reduced due to developmental activities in and around them. According to the report, the size of Agara lake which was originally 149.24 acre has reduced 97.32 acre, due to formation of HSR Layout. During the formation of HSR Layout on the east of Agara lake by the BDA, certain portion of the periphery of the lake land has been also used for the formation of ring road, flyover and civic amenities. The BDA has also formed the 14th main road, HSR Layout and storm water drain on the western side of the lake within the lake boundary, resulting in the depletion of lake, says the report.

The Lake Development Authority states that since the catchment area is fully developed by the BDA forming HSR Layout, the only source of water to the lake is rain water. The excess water from Agara lake overflows through the storm water drain to Bellandur lake. Emphasising on the need to restore the Agara lake, the LDA has said that the preparation of Detailed Project Report (DPR) for rejuvenation of Agara lake is in progress.

Village Panchayat map of Agara lake. Courtesy: LDA report

Bellandur lake polluted by sewage

Bellandur village spread over 891 acre, has been polluted due to the entry of sewage into the lake, and has been facing the threat of proposed SEZ. The report says: “The land acquired by the KIADB for the proposed SEZ is the land situated between Agara lake and Bellandur lake, which is one of the catchment areas of Bellandur lake.”

This area was classified as sensitive zone in the draft CDP Master Plan 2015, but in the final master plan the classification was changed to mixed residential category. Now, the fence of the lake has been damaged at many places. It is in urgent need of eviction of encroachments, fencing and rejuvenation. Unlike Agara lake that is now under the custody of LDA, Bellandur lake continues to be under the charge of the BDA.

HC asks LDA to convene joint meetings

Hearing the Lake Development Authority’s version, the High Court on April 13th directed (WP 36569/2013, order dated April 13th, 2015) the LDA to convene a joint meeting of various stakeholders to discuss and formulate methodologies for rejuvenation and restoration of Agara and Bellandur lakes.

The court in its directive, asked the LDA to call a meeting of the BDA, BBMP, KIADB, BWSSB, Mantri Techzone Pvt Ltd, Core Mind Software and Services Pvt Ltd and a representative from the petitioner’s side to discuss on formulating method for rejuvenating the two lakes.

It also suggested that the BWSSB bring about modalities to stop the flow of sewage from entering storm water drains that flow from HSR Layout to Agara lake. Further, the Court directed the KIADB to ensure the provision of water channels for flow of excess water from Agara to Bellandur lake. The BDA was asked to resurvey the boundary of Bellandur lake, fix boundaries and report over future development.

The builders, ie, Mantri Techzone Pvt Ltd and Coremind Ltd too were directed to submit report on rejuvenation and maintenance of the two lakes. Yet another specific direction to the local authorities was to ensure the restoration of Bellandur lake to its original measurement.

The matter was adjourned for further hearing until June 10th 2015. The court’s directive has come even as the petition on the SEZ coming up on the land between Agara and Bellandur lake is pending before the National Green Tribunal.

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About Akshatha M 220 Articles
Akshatha M was a Staff Journalist at Citizen Matters. She tweets at @akshata1.