HC directs BBMP to start work on restoring 3 lakes

NEERI had suggested remedial measures, including deepening by removing silt and superficial sediment

The High Court of Karnataka has directed the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to immediately initiate measures to restore three lakes, including Kamakshipalya lake, that has no water as half the area was used for other purposes and the remaining portion is an open field.

In the case of Arehalli lake, the court directed BBMP to take steps for de-watering the lake before desilting, and removal of superficial sediment up to a depth of three metres. The works of removing unwanted silt up to a depth of two metres and deepening of Tavarekere lake will be undertaken as per the recommendations of National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI).

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum issued the directions based on the recommendations made by the CSIR-NEERI in its Phase 1 report after studying 210 lakes, for their protection, restoration and rejuvenation.

The report was submitted on the directions of the court, which is monitoring the issues of lake and stormwater drain maintenance through PIL petitions. NEERI is expected to provide a master plan for each lake in its Phase 2 report.

As BBMP has expressed some reservations about taking up the work of deepening of Kamakshipalya lake on the ground that the area is too small, the bench directed the civic body to seek the opinion of NEERI on immediately commencing the work. If NEERI advises to take up the work soon, the BBMP will have to comply, the bench said.

As BBMP has agreed to take steps for restoration of Arehalli and Tavarekere lakes, the bench directed the civic body to put up a fence around the lakes, and involve, as recommended by NEERI, the residents of nearby areas in the work of removal of superficial sediment.

Pointing out that lake restoration work cannot be done without the support of local residents, the bench directed the BBMP to create awareness among them.

In case of Tavarekere lake, the bench said NEERI’s recommendation of putting a metal fence, planting perennial plants like crocuses, tulips, irises and delphiniums that last through bad weather not requiring to be renewed every year, should be implemented. The BBMP was also directed to implement the recommendation for introduction of fish/larvivorous fish species in the lake to control mosquito.

The bench directed the BBMP to submit a report by April 15 to enable the court to monitor implementation of the NEERI report.

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