NGT Warns Officials For Failing To Protect Bengaluru Lakes From Contamination [Read Order]
Principal Bench of National Green Tribunal has sought explanation from Additional Chief Secretary (Urban Development), Karnataka, Commissioner, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), Commissioner, Bengaluru Development Authority (BDA), Chairman, BWSSB and the Member Secretary, State PCB on why coercive action including 'civil imprisonment' be not ordered for the violations of its earlier orders passed for protecting three highly contaminated lakes, in Bengaluru city.
The bench led by Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said "Suffice it to say that the State of Karnataka has shown lack of concern on such a sensitive matter in spite of stringent orders of this Tribunal which is not conducive to the rule of law."
Several directions were issued by the Tribunal, in relation to contamination of water bodies-Bellandur lake, Agara lake and Varthur lake, on account of discharge of untreated sewage and other effluents from in violation of statutory provisions of the Water (Prevention And Control of Pollution) Act, 1974.
The tribunal based on the submission of the amicus appointed, Senior Advocate Raj Panjwani and report of the expert committee, noted fencing of the lake area to prevent encroachments has not been done. The illegal colony in the lake belt has not been shifted. CCTV cameras and watch towers have not been installed. Marshals and watchmen have not been deployed. There is no information about maintenance of buffer zones at the lakes and Rajkaluves. De-silting and de-weeding has not been done as directed.
There is no information about setting up of Real Time Water Quality Monitoring Systems. There is no information about action taken against the erring officers. There is also non-compliance with regard to deposit of Rs. 25 Crores by BBMP and furnishing of performance guarantee in the sum of Rs. 100 Crores by the State of Karnataka for which there is no explanation.
The bench said "Beyond saying that the work was in progress, there is no specific information. There is patent non-compliance in critical areas by the State and its Authorities."
The court gave the directions while hearing a suo-motu application, taking up the issued of the lakes been subjected to severe pollution on account of inefficient management of solid waste as well as discharge of untreated sewage, apart from industrial effluents.