Bengaluru: The city has 15 lakes that have disappeared in the past 4.5 years. After the Indiranagar pub row, Karnataka high court has now come forward to question the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) regarding the vanishing lakes as well. The Citizens Action Group had filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) on June 13 in Bengaluru.

A high court order issued on December 1, 2014, stated that 183 lakes in Bengaluru are under the BBMP’s control. This was recorded by a division bench headed by Abhay Shreeniwas Oka. But the civic body’s latest statement said that it has 168 lakes under its possession.

The bench has told the government and BBMP’s counsel that they need to solve the mystery of the 15 lakes that disappeared in four-and-a-half years. They have also been asked to submit details regarding the preventive measures that need to be taken once the lake has been cleared of encroachments.

The court asked the government and the BBMP whether they are ready to rope in a central agency – National Environment Engineering Research Institute – to conduct an audit of the city’s lakes and to suggest implementable measures to improve them. 

Restoration and rejuvenation of lakes is the job of an expert body. It does not only involve clearing a lake of encroachments. Though the BBMP is in charge of preserving the lakes, the government is not powerless, said the court.

19 lakes out of the 168 lakes in BBMP’s possession have lost their characteristics and are being used for other purposes. They are being used as bus stands, stadium office of the Pollution Control Board (PCB), revenue quarters at KHB Colony and BDA layouts, et., the BBMP said.

The civic body also stated that the lakes at Bilekahalli, Chikkalasandra, Doresanipalya Arehalli, Geddalahalli, Ittamadu, Kamakshipalya, Karisandra, Konena Agrahara, Lingarajapuram, Tavarekere and Vijanapura are being used for other purposes.

The BBMP said that 75 lakes have been completely developed. The entry of sewage water into these lakes have been blocked. It also stated that 19 lakes are under renovation and it will be completed on August 31 this year.