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Over half of B'lore sewage flows into storm water drains,lakes

More than half the sewage generated in Bangalore is directly discharged into stormwater drains and lakes, contaminating water bodies and ground water, a CAG report revealed.

The existing sewage network covers only 40 per cent of Bangalore Metropolitan Region (BMR) and the sewage treatment plants receive only 47 per cent of the sewage generated, says the report of the CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General of India) for the year ended March 31, 2010.

"The remaining 53 per cent was discharged directly into stormwater drains and lakes, contaminating water bodies and groundwater", according to the report, tabled in the current session of the State Legislative Assembly.

"The groundwater quality in BMR was affected due to presence of pollutants in excess of permissible limits".

Though concentration of air pollutants continued to be high at many places in BMR, an effective plan to control air pollution could not be drawn up due to non-finalisation of source apportionment studies.

CAG conducted a performance audit covering the period of 2005-2010 between May 2010 and August 2010 to verify compliance with existing legislations and other instruments to prevent and control water and air pollution and to secure environmental safeguards in construction activities in BMR.

As per the performance audit, Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) had not drawn up any concrete action plan to address pollution-related issues, leading to under-utilisation of available funds.

"The Board had upspent balance of Rs 208.03 crore at the end of March 2010", it said.

The KSPCB did not maintain a proper inventory of polluting sources and faced shortage of manpower. This resulted in ineffective identification and inspection of polluting units and facilitated operation of a large number of polluting units without installing pollution control systems, the report said.

CAG recommended that the institutional capacity of KPSCB be strengthened by providing adequate technical and scientific staff to ensure that an appropriate match exists between the organisational mandate and the institutional structure.

"A comprehensive action plan for prevention and control of water and air pollution needs to be drawn up and implemented for effective utilisation of funds", it said.

To secure coordination of water pollution control measures, a formal mechanism ensuring participation of all stakeholders like departments of Health, Agriculture,Bangalore Water Supply and Sewarage Board, Lake Development Authority and KSPCB needs to be established.

CAG said improvement to sewage network and sewage treatment needs to be given priority.

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