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Should only government worry about state of Bengaluru's Bellandur lake?

By Mrigashira

Bengaluru is in the news again for all the wrong reasons. Twice in two years, Bengaluru's Bellandur Lake was ablaze. In fact, since 2015, the lake has caught fire at least four times! This time The Army Service Corps (ASC) had to be called in to control the fire. It took more than 5,000 Armymen, and firefighters more over seven hours. The fire broke out again last evening, and reports suggested that a snake bit an army man during the operation as the heat had forced several snakes out of the lake.

Should only government worry about state of Bellandur lake?

To say it is a sad state of affairs at Bellandur is putting it mildly! Horrendous it is. In its last hearing, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had observed that 'either treated or untreated, sewage must not enter the Agara, Bellandur or Varthur Lakes. The Rajakaluves were meant to transfer only rainwater or stormwater and not sewage. Failure in planning a proper underground sewage system has led to the present situation and distortion of lakes in the city.

What is coming in the way of finding a solution to this problem? Is it lack of political will or lack of public funds or vested interests of the real estate lobby or lack of aggressive push from the business community that had actively advocated for a solution to some of the city's woes in the past? The BBMP appears clueless, and the Government, with an eye on the forthcoming polls, seems to be busy releasing ads about its populist schemes in a bid to pat its own back by blowing its trumpet. Sources close to the matter say that the real estate lobby has its agenda for ensuring the status quo prevails.

Let us not forget that in the 1990s when the electronic city flyover was inordinately delayed and the existing roads were not in good condition, a section of the IT companies including its honchos had come on to the streets fixing potholes as a protest. When the airport shifted from HAL to Devanahalli, the IT industry protested vehemently insisting that the HAL airport remain open for short haul flights or the road infrastructure improve drastically to the new airport.

According to the Wikipedia, the Bellandur - Marathahalli - Mahadevapura (Outer Ring Road) cluster houses leading companies like Deloitte, Accenture, Intel, Nokia, Cisco, Honeywell, JP MorganChase, Oracle, Capgemini, Mphasis, Inmobi, Microland, Sony, Freescale Semiconductor among others. This cluster has eight IT Parks such as RMZ Ecospace, RMZ Eco World, Prestige Tech Park, Intel Park, Cessana SEZ, Vrinadavan IT Park and three Salarpuria IT Parks.

Isn't it time for these companies to come together to find a solution to the problem? Isn't it in their interest as well since it affects both their employees as well as clients? While employees who live in areas surrounding Bellandur can have health issues, clients can refuse to visit their facility fearing the same. Time to act! Time to realise people's life is above all else.

By Mrigashira

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