‘Environmental Emergency’: NGT Calls Bengaluru Lakes ‘Septic Tanks’, Slaps Rs 50 Crore Fine On Karnataka Government

A huge pile of froth on the polluted Bellandur Lake near the residential houses on August 17, 2017 in Bengaluru. (Photo by Arijit Sen/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

National Green Tribunal (NGT) has criticised the Government of Karnataka for not being able to protect the lakes in Bengaluru, Bangalore Mirror has reported.

Mentioning that Bellandur and Varthur lakes have made it to international news, the tribunal blamed the ignorance of state government and Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).

A fine of Rs 50 crore and Rs 25 crore has been slapped on the state and BBMP, respectively. In order to execute the Bellandur clean-up plan, NGT also directed the state government to deposit Rs 500 crore in an escrow account. To overlook the progress, a committee headed by Justice Santosh Hegde has been constituted.

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Calling it an environmental emergency, the lakes were dubbed as septic tanks by the NGT. It also cited recommendations from the Panjwani Committee Report and asked the Pollution Control Board to take action under the provisions of Water Act.

The report, dated 31 May 2018, mandates that no pollutant be discharged into lakes. Furthermore, it speaks against dumping of solid waste into the water bodies and illegal encroachments of wetlands.

The committee headed by Justice Santosh Hegde will also have Prof. T V Ramachandra (IISc), representatives of Central and State Pollution Control Boards and a person nominated by the Additional Chief Secretary.

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