Eshwar Khandre, the recently appointed Minister of Forest, Ecology, and Environment, conducted a visit to Bellandur Lake to evaluate the progress of its restoration. During the visit, Minister Khandre announced that the restoration work is expected to be completed by December 2024. Notably, approximately 50 percent of the desilting work has already been accomplished.
The restoration project, initiated by the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) in December 2020, aims to revive Bellandur Lake, one of the largest lakes in the city. Minister Khandre, accompanied by officials from the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), assessed the ongoing efforts to address the pollution and environmental challenges faced by the lake.
An essential aspect of the restoration work involves the construction and upgrading of 14 Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) to prevent sewage water from flowing into the lake. Around 550 Minimum Liquid Discharge (MLD) sewage water enters the lake, making it a critical issue that needs to be addressed. The Minister emphasized that the upgrade of five existing STPs and the establishment of nine new ones are vital to resolving this problem. Officials have assured that the STP work will be completed by December 2024.
However, the restoration process faces a significant challenge due to the lack of available dumping sites for the accumulated silt. Local residents residing near quarries have strongly opposed the use of these sites. Minister Khandre has instructed officials to make arrangements for the disposal of the remaining silt promptly.
Bellandur Lake gained national and international attention due to its high pollution levels, exemplified by incidents of fire in 2015 and 2017. Once a vital water source for drinking, irrigation, and fishing, the lake has become a dumping ground for untreated sewage and industrial effluents. This has led to the formation of froth on the lake’s surface, causing a pungent smell and posing health risks.
The deteriorating condition of Bellandur Lake has long concerned the citizens of Bengaluru and those connected to the lake. Previous directives from the National Green Tribunal (NGT) mandated the closure and ban on dumping solid waste near the lake, with associated fines. Minister Khandre highlighted the lapse in collecting fines from over 400 industries located in the lake’s catchment area. Strict action will be taken against those responsible for failing to recover the fines.
The restoration work, initiated by the BDA in December 2020, involves excavating nearly 916 acres of land and removing over 32 lakh cubic meters of silt. The project’s estimated cost is Rs 100.3 crore. Once known as the “city of a thousand lakes,” Bengaluru now struggles to maintain the few remaining active waterbodies. The declining water quality, waste management concerns, and ecological imbalance highlight the urgent need for restoration efforts in the city’s lakes.