The Bellandur Lake, the largest lake of Bengaluru, burst into flames on Thursday choking the entire city.
The lake continues to be a dumping ground for toxic chemicals, despite flagging of environmental concerns.
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, said.
The fire was doused in half an hour, he said. The area, for a while, was enveloped by huge clouds of smoke, he said.
Residents hit out at the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) officials for their “lackadaisical” attitude to stop dumping of garbage.
The scale of Thursday’s fire shocked experts and authorities, who were unable to trace the source of the fire for a long time because due to inaccessibility of the spot.
Firemen were also left confused on how to put off a ‘fire in the water.’
According to reports, the fire started after weed and dry grass were burnt in the area without proper supervision. Residents from the neighbourhood alleged that this was a regular affair.
Karnataka State Pollution Control Board Chairman Lakshman said notices have been issued to the BBMP, 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 Environment ministry has ordered an enquiry into the incident. “We are enquiring into it. The report will come by evening. We will have to see what were the reasons behind the fire,” Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave said.
The lake has been in news for the last one year for spillover of froth and toxic fumes.