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Lake on fire surprises Bengalureans 

Bengaluru: Thick smoke enveloped Bengaluru’s Bellandur lake after a fire broke out, a fire department official said on February 17.

The incident triggered panic among motorists on the busy Sarjapur main road.

“Usually, a pile of garbage strewn around the lake is set on fire, but yesterday it caused a scare among residents and motorists as the smoke started billowing and surrounding the lake in the evening,” K U Ramesh, Deputy Director at Karnataka Fire Department, told reporters.

The fire was doused in half an hour and the area, for a while, was enveloped by huge clouds of smoke, he added.

Residents hit out at the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (Greater Bangalore Municipal Corporation) officials for their “lackadaisical” attitude to stop dumping of garbage.

Karnataka State Pollution Control Board Chairperson Lakshman said notices have been issued to the corporation, Bengaluru Water Supply and Sewage Board and other agencies to stop the dumping. He also said the board is in the process of inspecting sewage treatment plants in the area.

The lake has been in news for the last one year for spillover of froth and toxic fumes.

Huge clouds of white, toxic foam floating up onto the roads are a common occurrence at Bellandur Lake.

“Bellandur Lake has no water. There is a lot of weed growth and in addition sewage and debris end up in the lake. The Bengaluru Development Authority had taken up the initiative to restore the lake in January this year but so far no work had started,” a ward officer said.

This is not the first time that the Bellandur lake has caught fire.

On May 16, 2015, yellowish flames had emerged from the toxic froth, which had built up for over a week, near the Yemlur side of the Bellandur lake.

Puzzled by the spontaneous combustion, the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board’s regional authorities had inspected the site and found that the methane build-up on the surface of the lake had led to the fire.

The froth had formed due to chemical deposits from detergents and cleaners, which had flown into the lake from the sewage pipes. The highly combustible methane gas had accumulated in one area of the lake and had caught fire.

“Shocking apathy and serious neglect,” commented industrialist Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, tweeting NDTV’s report on the massive fire. Mazumdar Shaw heads a citizen’s group that has taken up the rising pollution levels in Bengaluru.

But officials said this time it was because of burning garbage and grass. The fire apparently began in the clumps of dry hyacinth and weed around the lake at about 4 pm.

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