NGT show cause notice to Karnataka over fire in Bengaluru lake

NEW DELHI
22 Feb 2017

The National Green Tribunal today lashed out at the Karnataka government and its agencies resposible for maintenance of Bengaluru's Bellandur lake, asking them why they should not be prosecuted for negligence following the recent outbreak of fire in the waterbody. A bench headed by NGT chief Justice Swatanter Kumar, while issuing the show cause notices, castigated the state government for making mockery of the environment issue saying it was 'shocked' at the apathy on part of the stakeholders. "What do you think you are doing? You are the authority for maintaining lakes in the city. Don't you think you have some responsibility? You are making mockery of environment. You can't ruin a city like Bengaluru. "We are surprised at the apathy prevailing in the functioning of the statutory bodies and the state government. It is conceded before us that fire broke out as a result of burning of green waste and municipal solid waste including plastic," the bench said. "We issue show cause notices to all authorities as to why we should not direct their prosecution under Environment Protection Act, 1986," the green panel said. It also asked them to show cause why should NGT not direct imposition of environment compensation under section 16 and 17 of NGT Act and directed Bangalore Development Authority and Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board to file an affidavit within two weeks explaining what steps they have taken for preservation of the lakes in the city. The matter was listed for next hearing on March 20. It had earlier issued notice to the Union Environment Ministry, the Karnataka government, Lake Authority of Bangalore, state pollution control board and Central Pollution Control Board in the case. On February 20, the NGT had taken suo motu cognisance of media reports and photographs of the incident in which fire broke out in the Bengaluru lake. "It is reported that there were thick clouds of smoke which severely hit traffic and people living around the lake. It is also reported that usually a pile of garbage around the lake is set on fire and there was total panic. "Undoubtedly, such emissions are bound to be have an adverse impact on environment, ecology and human health. It is a matter which requires serious investigation, remedial measures and restoration of the lake to its original wholesome status," it had said. Thick cloud of white smoke persisted in the air around Bellandur Lake in Bengaluru after the blaze in a garbage mound around it on February 16.(PTI)