End of Blame Game? BBMP Custodian of 200 Lakes except for Bellandur, Varthur

Bengaluru: The Urban Development Department, under the directions of Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, has instructed the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to take over all the lakes of Bengaluru except Bellandur and Varthur.

“It was decided by the government that BBMP will be a single coordinating body for all the lakes in Bengaluru except for Bellandur and Varthur lakes, which continue to be under the jurisdiction of BDA,” the Action Points of the High-level meeting conducted under the chairmanship of BS Yediyurappa said.

There are around 200 water bodies spread across the City. Of them, 169 lakes are already under the custody of BBMP. With the latest decision, the Civic body will be the sole owner of another 38 lakes including nine which are currently under the Forest Department’s purview.

While the move could help the government hold BBMP responsible for the maintenance of the lakes in Bengaluru, the civic body neither has any expertise or financial strength to ensure the lakes are rejuvenated. A senior official said the department would come up with a comprehensisve plan to restore the lakes and seek additional funds from the government.

Currently, the BDA has been tasked with the responsibility of rejuvenating the massive Bellandur and Varthur Lakes, while the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL) has come forward to develop Kengeri and Veerasandra lakes.

The Bengaluru Water Source and Sewerage Board (BWSSB), which is letting untreated sewage into many lakes and stormwater drains in the City, has been kept away from any responsibilities.

Other points discussed at the high-powered meeting include: conducting a joint study by BBMP and BWSSB to identify the status of lakes and list the pending developmental activities such as fencing, STP, wetland, bund creation etc. The BBMP has also been instructed to work with the Revenue department to remove encroachments and fence the lakes in three months.