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Hebbal Lake: EIH charged with violation of Wildlife Act and Water Act

The Forest Department has issued a show-cause notice to East India Hotels Ltd. (EIH), the parent company of Oberoi Group of hotels, charging it with violating the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 in the process of developing Hebbal lake. The lake was leased out to EIH by the Lake Development Authority (LDA) in May 2006 for its “development and maintenance” for 15 years, under a public-private partnership. EIH plans to set up a recreational facility at the lake. The notice, issued by A.M. Annaiah, Deputy Conservator of Forests (DCF), Bangalore Urban of September 20, states: “It is reported by the Range Forest Officer, Bangalore Range, and also observed that you (EIH) removed the entire water and aquatic vegetation unscientifically in June 2007, which has destroyed the habitat of aquatic birds and wildlife. The removal of vegetation in the swampy area of the tank has destroyed the nests and eggs of many birds and animals which are listed under the schedules of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972.” The notice to the group adds: “This act of yours is a violation of Section 9 read with Section 51 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972.” [Section 9 refers to the “prohibition of hunting”, where the word ‘hunting’ is used broadly and extends to damaging or destroying eggs and nests of birds and reptiles listed in their schedules. Section 51 refers to penalties to persons found to contravene the Act, who will, “on conviction, be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to (three years) or with fine which may extend to (Rs. 25,000) or with both.”] ‘No notice’ When The Hindu contacted Ketaki Narain, director of corporate communications of the Oberoi Group, she said EIH had not received any notice from the Forest Department. In a letter of August 21, Mr. Annaiah had written to the Conservator of Forests saying that the agreement between EIH and LDA was “only for the purpose of development and maintenance of the lake and they have to follow the laws of the land.” The Deputy Conservator of Forests pointed out that Hebbal lake was on the threshold of being declared a bird conservation reserve by the State Government. Officials of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board and the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board told The Hindu that a sewage treatment plant being constructed by EIH had not been permitted by them. “Section 25 of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1974 mandates that our prior consent be taken,” said a senior official of the pollution control board. This reporter found work on the sewage treatment plant in full swing at the lake. Construction of the plant, with a capacity to treat three million litres of sewage a day, began in April 2007, she said. B.K. Dikshit, Conservator of Forest who is on deputation with LDA, said: “We have already advised the Oberoi Group that if they are to go ahead with the sewage treatment plant, they have to obtain the permission of the pollution control board. They had sought our permission and we had informed them that LDA was not the competent authority.” Source: The Hindu The sewage treatment plant under construction at Hebbal lake.
tiffincarrier's picture

Whatever it is that the

Whatever it is that the Government is trying to do, they don't seem to be too efficient now, do they? I'm not denying that the FD and the State Government are trying things out, but they're really not able to control the effluent-dumping in Hebbal, which as-it-is, is as low as ever.
tsubba's picture

good point

that is true. and apparently, the effluent treatment capacity is way below the actual amount of effluents dumped into the lake. less than half the effluents that flow into the lake are treated, rest flows directly. in effect, this wastes the effort spent in treating. that is failure of governance and the solution is to set the governance right, no? how can building a hotel be the solution? the next step would be for forest department to haul LDA, BWSSB & KSPCB up and give them a thorough spanking. comment guidelines

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