Analyze and highlight Bellandur lake issues

Project number:2570
Opened by:psaram42
Opened on:Tuesday, 8 September 2009 - 6:41pm
Last modified:Wednesday, 2 November 2011 - 8:16am
Operations:add Case | view all project cases

This is a project to understand and highlight Bellandur Lake's survival issues. Lake bed, wet land encorachment, discharge of sewerage into the lake, dumping of construction debris on the lake shores, eating into the channel that takes water down to Varthur lake are some of the issues threatening Bellandur lake.

Survival and upkeep of lakes is a popular issue amongst many members, however, this project is an attempt to try a detailed advocacy/activism exercise for one lake.

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Bellandur Lake - Current Status and way forward



Puttenahalli Neighborhood Lake Improvement Trust PNLIT people were contacted as suggested by Naveen_blr sir. I could get some good incite towards a likely way forward.

Dismal Town planning and the Bellandur lake.

Urban DevelopmentGovernance


The 60th National Town and Country Planners Congress on “Planning and Development, 2025: is currently on at Mysore.

Meeting with Mr. T. Venkatraju, Chief Engineer, BWSSB

26 Nov 2011 10:00


Mr. T Venkata Raju. Chief Engineer BWSSB,  was contacted to day. He has agreed for a Saturday meeting at BWSSB Office at Indira Nager II stage, Bangalore.

The Tentative programme is

Venue : BWSSB Office at Water tank behind Indiranagar Club

Date  : 26 Nov 2011

Time : 10:00 AM

Bellandur lake revival!! Who killed it in the first place?


When Sunita Rao called me yesterday evening, about Bellandur Lake, we talked about diverting the storm water drain sewage water being discharged into the Lake. I must admit of my folly. The basic question is why is the sewage water flowing in the Storm water Drain in the first place?!!!! The reason is obvious!

Bellandur Lake - Huge (Wet) Land filling in progress!

EnvironmentLakesEverything else

Road Side Land Fill example -1

Road Side Land Fill example -2

Meeting details of Bellandur lake Maintenance Event.


The meeting started at 10AM sharp on 04July 2009 at the scheduled place. It was attended by Neeraj, Megha, Neha Usha Kiran, and Prakash.

Bellandur Lake Maintenance

4 Jul 2009 10:00

  The residents of Apartment complexes in and around Belandur Lake area are concerned about the upkeep of the Lake. The issues are avoidance of health hazards, Eco enhancement including environment protection. These residents are dependent on Bore wells for there drinking water needs. 

Why is the Bellandur Lake Dead?


There are 20 storms cum sewage water inlets feeding polluted water into the Bellandur Lake in total. Out of this only one inlet namely Koramangala Challaghatta (KC) valley inlet water is being treated before discharging into the Lake.

The Bellandur Lake Photo Stream


 Bellandur Lake is a lake on the shores of which Bellandur village is situated.


interesting (and long) article on impact of water pollution

Shows how bad things can get with various forms of water pollution.  This in the United States where I happily used to drink water from the tap. The scary part is that some forms of pollution can not even be identified by smell or colour.

Excellent Work, Sanjay

Very well analysed, & I agree completely.

In the forest of agencies that we have, each merely holds pieces of the pie & all hide between tiers of responsibility, when confronted with failures.

The only course of action is to increase awareness & spread the message & battle with them for action & accountability.

Bellandur Lake- Multi-faceted issue - the battle fronts

 Here is my updated analysis of the Bellandur lake, which we are taking to be a case study representing what is happening to water bodies all over Bangalore.

Bellandur lake is a major water body in one of the three main valleys of Bangalore.  Several lakes originally drained into the Bellandur which then drains to Varthur lake. The varthur lake eventually connects to the Thenna periyar river, also known as the Dakshina Pinakini. Currently, treated as well as untreated sewage is let into this lake severely polluting it to the extent that the lake does not support much life any more. Here the agencies involved are (a) BWSSB which has the mandate from the legislature to provision for the removal of sewage (b) Keep it separate from storm water and (c) Treat the sewage to the extent prescribed by appropriate standards.

Obviously, the BWSSB has failed in this function. (Keep in mind that of the 800 odd MLD (Million liters per day) of water pumped into the city, at least 600 MLD of sewage is generated.  This water has to go somewhere.  A reasonable plan would be to treat the sewage and let it into some natural watr body or reuse some of it.  Just think about this so that we are grounded in our expectations).

So questions for the BWSSB are - How does the BWSSB plan to segregate and treat the sewage generated in the city. This includes (1) Upgrading the sewage network for the future (2) Building sewage treatement plants at the right locations with the right capacity.  (3) Eliminating and penalizing all unauthorized sewage dumping into storm water drains (4) Providing basic ameneties to all classes of citizens including for the poor in the slums (5) Separating sewage and storm water (6)How is this plan which will cost crores of rupees going to be funded? (7) What are the timelines?

The second set of culprits here are the Karnataka Pollution Control Board as well as the Central Pollution Control Board and the Karnataka State Fisheries department.  Here is a natural resource getting polluted because of the failure of a state agency and these guys have not been able to do anything to stop the problem in a timely fashion.  THe bellandur lake had a fish market next to it not too long ago, until fishes stopped surviving there.  How do we hold these guys accountable? I have no idea, unless the legal route is taken.

BDA: To the  best of my knowledge, the BDA decides the land use zoning in this area.  The CDP of 2015 identifies in a map the various valleys between lakes which are protected zones.  The CDP also strongly recommends that the lakes and the natural valleys be designated as protected zones and no development happen in those areas. I quote this section from the CDP with italics and bolding done for highlighting some aspects



ii) Valley/ drain

Within the demarcated buffer for the valley the following uses are allowed:

i. Sewerage Treatment Plants and Water treatment plants

ii. Roads, pathways, formation of drains, culverts, bridges, etc which will not obstruct the

water course, run offs, channels.

iii. In case of water bodies a 30.0 m buffer of ‘no development zone’ is to be maintained around the lake (as per revenue records) with exception of activities associated with lake and this buffer may be taken into account for reservation of park while sanctioning plans.

iv. If the valley portion is a part of the layout/ development plan, then that part of the valley zone could be taken into account for reservation of parks and open spaces both in development plan and under subdivision regulations subject to fulfilling section 17 of KTCP Act, 1961 and sec 32 of BDA Act, 1976!!!

v. Any land falling within the valley for which permission has been accorded either by the Authority or Government, and then such permission shall be valid irrespective of the land use classification in the RMP 2015. Fresh permissions for developments shall not be accorded in valley zone.


Drains: The drains have been categorized into 3 types namely primary, secondary and tertiary. These drains will have a buffer of 50, 25 and 15m (measured from the centre of the drain) respectively on either side. These classifications have been used for the drains newly identified while finalizing the RMP 2015. In case the buffer has not been marked due to cartographical error for any of the above types of drains, then based on the revenue records buffer shall be insisted in all such cases without referring the land use plan while according approval for building/development/ layout plan. Permissions in sensitive areas earmarked on the land use plan shall be considered only by the planning Authority.



What we need from the BDA

(i) Detailed documents for the Varthur planning zone with maps that show the plan for the area.

(ii) Information on all the land use zoning change requests allowed by the BDA within the valley zone.

Ideally, a legal amendment that makes it incredibly hard to effect any land use change at the whims and fancies of couple of govt officers is also important.


BBMP:  The BBMP is responsible for the storm water drains.  In Bangalore, storm water is synonymous with lakes and valleys. The famous "storm water drain remodeling project" with some French company involved etc. that we have been hearing about will directly impact all of this. One cannot be done without the other.

Questions for BBMP: (1) What is happening with the storm water remodeling project.  (2) plans, budget, timelines, DPR.

LDA: Ah... what do these guys do in Bellandur?  I have no idea.

I hope everybody can get a feel for the magnitude of the problem and the various agencies involved.  The genius of the plan is that every agency is responsible and that you cannot pin any one down.  A simple test is the following: Which govt agency is responsible for Bellandur lake?  The govt. of Karnataka is to blame because of the sheer magnitude of the problem and because we do not have an empowered city govt in this state. (Most of this stuff does not even come within the purview of the BBMP) which is the city government).

Another scary question to ask is: Which govt agency has the expertise to handle restoration of Bellandur lake? The answer, I suspect, is none of the above.


Solution Space:  What is the solution, the path forward?  If I was given dictatorial powers and money, I know the rough roadmap.  However, in the existing setup, the solution is not easy.  We by ourselves, working part time, may struggle to have a real impact.  What we require in the short term is the following

(1) Bring public awareness and visibility to this problem, for it affects Bangaloreans every day of the year. (2) There are a plethora of organizations working on various aspects of the lakes.water issue in different ways. Each is a Don Quixote flailing at a different windmill, if you ask me. Most of them are missing the big picture. There are groups like ESG. There is the IISc research group.  There are Bellandur residents fighting for clean drinking water. There is us, just beginning... and there are many others too. If these organizations can put the small differences aside and come together to tackle to larger issue, we will see results. Right now, some want to attack the LDA, almost nobody seems to be blaming the BWSSB and the government is on a JNNURM fueled spending spree.

The upcoming ESG conference may be a good place to form relationships.  It is vital to do so.  I hope some more people will go with PSA sir and build bridges (I am going to IISc).  We should strive to bring everybody uner a coherent platform, engage with the government and force a well planned, scientific solution for the years to come.

This project also needs more hands and legs.  I hope more people will join.

Thanks Naveen for your good wishes.

 I am really grateful for your and SB’s support. Hope we, myself and Sanjay, will be able to take this forward.

 As we discussed, we will split between me and Sanjay about attending the two events on 26th September 2009. I will attend the Lal Bagh event. Sanjay would you like to attend the IISc event? Please indicate.

Wud have liked to join too


Great stuff - had seen your post/s previously & I am also very concerned about lakes in the city after a visit to Hessarghatta lake sometime ago, & remembering how glorious this lake had been when I had seen it when in school a long time ago.

Unfortunately, I will be leaving soon & will be out of station for some time. However, I will stay in touch & support all your efforts.

Tempted to join

But wont be able to give this time right now as I want to work for the transportation event, and the BDA RTIs.

Leaving this comment to raise visibility for the project, hope some more will join. 4-5 people is all we need to do some digging, right anatharam sir?

Anatharam sir and I talked last night, and we are clear that we don't want to take names etc (of builders or encorachers) to buy any trouble. Goal would be to ask BBMP/BWSSB for what they will do to prevent whats happening to this lake, and would be happening to all other lakes as well.

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