NGT orders immediate closure of industries near Bengaluru's Bellandur lake

Responding to the NGT order, Rajya Sabha member.

The circular thus concluded that the NGT order of new buffer zones is NOT applicable for the plan sanction applications for the sites in partially developed layouts sanctioned by a competent authority.

The circular was issued almost a year after the Tribunal on May 4, 2016 ordered ban on any construction on the wetland of the lake and redefined the buffer zone of the lakes and storm-water drains across the city. "The Tribunal was distressed with the language used in the circular and fumed at the counsel representing State of Karnataka saying "by what authority have you clarified our judgment", says a press note from Namma Bengaluru Foundation that brought the issue to the notice of the green court".

The NGT directed state authorities to undertake a one-time clean-up of Bellandur to de-silt the lake, remove waste and chemicals from its surface within a month. Neither has there been any clarification by NGT on the retrospective effect, nor has the government been allowed to get legal clarification.

The bench of National Green Tribunal (NGT) in New Delhi on Wednesday passed a set of directions pertaining to the Bellandur Lake matter that included shutting down of all industries in the vicinity of the water body forthwith.

Over a hundred industries around Bellandur lake will come under the scanner for polluting the city's largest water body.Dumping municipal waste or debris in and around the lake will invite a penalty of '5 lakh.

"No industry is permitted to operate unless inspection by a joint inspection team is conducted and analysis of effluent is found to be within the permissible limits", the bench, which also comprised Justice R S Rathore, said.

He said the 585 industries have been categorised based on the level of pollutants.

The government has been directed to form a committee of officials from the BDA, Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Authority (KLCDA) and Urban Development Department (UDD) not below the rank of additional secretary to ensure that the lake is cleaned up in a month as ordered.

The committee can induct any special agency for execution of this task.

The government was also ordered to submit an action taken report to it in the next two weeks before the hearing was adjourned to May 18.

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. The case has now been adjourned to May 18, 2017.

  • Carolyn Briggs