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NGT Takes up Bellandur lake fire Suo Moto — Issues Notice on Mantri

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The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on 20th March has asked Mantri Techzone Pvt Ltd and Core Mind Software and Services Pvt Ltd to file a compliance report in terms of the directions passed in the judgement on 04 May 2016.
It may be recalled that in the Judgement of 4th May 2016, NGT had passed strictures against the builders concerned and asked them to forthwith demolish structures that violated buffer norms.
NGT also refused to move the case to Karnataka High Court as requested by Mr. Kupendra Reddy. The application to move the case to the Karnataka High Court was actively opposed by the Citizen groups who had taken up the case.
Earlier on 22 February 2017, The NGT issued a suo-moto show cause notice to various state authorities such as KSPCB, KLCDA, BDA, BWSSB and CPCB as to why they should not be prosecuted under the Environment Protection Act. The NGT permitted state authorities who have not filed their affidavits an additional two weeks’ time for filing.
Petitioners brought to the NGT’s notice that:
• Last month’s fire was not the first or only incident that the lake had caught fire, there has been numerous incidents of major or minor fire due to burning of solid municipal waste, garbage in the lake catchment. The fire department has been regularly dousing the fire near the lake bed. These incidents of garbage burning & fire has largely affected the air quality of the region, however, the authorities appear to have turned a blind eye towards the environment.
• The present situation of the lake is alarming and immediate remedial measures are required to be adopted to save the dying lake in terms of the recommendations of the Government of Karnataka’s Expert’s Committee Report.
• There is no proper quantification of actual amount of treated or untreated sewage entering the Lake. All estimates are based on old data.
• The area of the lake to the extent of 3 acres 10 guntas which was encroached upon by Mantri Techzone P Ltd should be restored to its original condition at the cost of Mantri Techzone Pvt Ltd. The possession of this area should be restored by them to the concerned authorities immediately. In addition, a buffer zone of 75 mts should be provided between the lake and the project area and this should be maintained as green area: There is no compliance report filed with respect to this.
• The Lake Development authority was directed to demolish all constructions including boundary walls falling in the buffer zone in respect of all water bodies/lakes of Bangalore. KLCDA has also not filed a compliance report in respect of this direction.

The NGT has warned the developers of stringent action if they do not file an Affidavit detailing the action taken by the next date of hearing.

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