The Karnataka High Court has ordered the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to implement and initiate measures to restore Arehalli, Kamakshipalya and Tavarekere lakes based on the recommendations made by CSIR-National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) in their Phase one report. A division bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum passed the verdict based on parts of the report containing restoration plans for these three lakes.
The court had been hearing the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition cases pertaining to the issues of lake and stormwater drain maintenance. The bench further advised the civic body to include residents in the restoration work; they observed that the work cannot be done without their assistance.
The court ordered the BBMP to take measures to de-water the Arehalli Lake before desilting and removing the sediment up to a depth of three metres. Subsequently, works for removal of unwanted silt up to a depth of two metres and deepening of Tavarekere lake will be undertaken as per the recommendations of NEERI— planting perennial plants like crocuses, tulips, irises and delphiniums and introduce fish/larvivorous fish species in the lake to control mosquito.
The bench further directed the civic body to erect fences around the lakes after they agreed to start the restoration process of the following lakes.
BBMP had expressed reservations in restoration and deepening of the Kamakshipalya lake on the grounds that the area is small, the bench, however, directed them to seek NEERI’s opinion and asked them to comply if NEERI advises immediate action.
The NEERI is expected to submit a detailed plan in their Phase two report. Concurrently, the bench directed the BBMP to submit a report by April 15 to monitor the implementation of the NEERI report.
L Venkatesh, Executive Engineer of the civic body’s lake department, confirmed the same while Chief Engineer Mohan Krishna BT remained unavailable for comment.
CSIR-NEERI studied nearly 210 lakes of Bengaluru and prepared a comprehensive report—which was submitted in the Karnataka High Court in the second week of February—in which they suggested long-term and short-term measures to rejuvenate the lakes. In their report, they stated that only 21 of 210 lakes in the city have water fit for drinking. The report also stated that those lakes were termed as disused lakes and except Arehalli and Tavarkere, others were encroached upon. The report suggested that desilting and dredging are essential to restore the water in lakes.