29 June 2021

Vrishabhavati river is free for all to dump - The case of Night Toxic Tanker Dumps

Vrishabhavati river is free for all to dump. Not only does she take the toxic wastes of the massive industries on her banks, she also receives toxic wastes coming from industrial areas all over Bengaluru and its peri-urban areas. Illegal dumping of untreated and hazardous industrial waste into Vrishabhavati river and its tributary channels, mostly at night, camouflaged as water tankers, is a pervasive malpractice going on for decades. As a result, Vrishabhavathi flows as Vishabhavathi (i.e Visha means poison in kannada) with unimaginable industrial toxicity.

In order to understand the magnitude of this issue, we compiled known incidences of tanker dumps in the Vrishabhavati river basin.


➤➤➤➤➤➤06 May 2021

  • Dumping of industrial effluents into waterbodies is a regularity in Harohalli industrial area. This particular incident was first reported to BET by Cheelur gram panchayat members, who then lodged a telephonic and whatsapp complaint with Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB),who is yet to do anything about it. It was later covered by Vijaya Karnataka.

LOCATION: Suvarnamukhi River, tributary of Vrishabhavathi River, Near Harohalli Industrial Area.


➤➤➤➤➤➤27 Apr 2021

  • Alert motorist called Bidadi police and KSPCB. KSPCB filed a complaint (not an FIR) with Bidadi police. The police had let the tanker and the driver go, before KSPCB officer came on-site for inspection, as reported by regional officer of KSPCB, Ramnagara. 

LOCATION: Near Bidadi Railway station on Mysore Rd.


 ➤➤➤➤➤➤03 Apr 2021

  • The citizens stood watch and alerted Kumbalgodu police when a 20,000 litre capacity Bharat Petroleum tanker pulled up next to the river to dump. The police rushed to the spot within minutes, by which time the truck had dumped. Read the full story here as documented by us.

                                                  The seized tanker parked near Kumbalgodu Police Station

LOCATION: Vrishabhavati river near Good Earth, Kumbalgodu



➤➤➤➤➤➤29 Dec 2020

  • Waste originating from ISRO and Life Cell International Pvt Ltd were caught by BBMP Marshalls as reported by Bangalore Mirror.

LOCATIONPeenya and RR Nagar



➤➤➤➤➤➤13 Dec 2020

  • K.T.V reporter alerted Kaggalipura Police Station of two tankers dumping industrial effluents into Vrishabhavathi river near Thagachguppe Village.The the reporter was intimidated by the organised dumpers who came in a separate car, as recorded in Kaggalipura Police Log.

LOCATIONVrishabhavathi river near Thagachguppe Village, Kumbalgodu


➤➤➤➤➤➤12 Dec 2020

  • Bad odour emanating from the storm water drains in RajarajeswariNagar has been the bane of local citizens for more than a year. It’s not just the odour, the drain water changes colour as well. On some days, it is a dirty yellow and on other days it is a murky red. All these years, as usual, the residents would complain about dumping of effluents in the drain. The authorities would receive their complaints but nothing would be done about it. Continue reading at Bangalore Mirror.

 LOCATION:Stormwater drain near nice road junction, RR Nagar.


➤➤➤➤➤➤Aug 2020 - Dec 2020

  • The residents of Krishna Gardens apartment complex and other homes have been waking up to the pungent chemical smell, causing headaches, nausea, tiredness, breathing difficulties and other maladies. This pervasive pungent chemical smell is the result of toxic industrial effluents dumped into the stream-turned drain, supposedly by tankers, in the wee hours. “The smell is so bad we find it difficult to breathe the air, sometimes”, say the residents in a letter to the local MLA. Continue reading BET's extensive coverage of this issue here.


LOCATIONChannasandra Stream near Krishna Gardens,BHEL Layout, Concord Layout


➤➤➤➤➤➤18 Mar 2020

  • BBMP Marshalls and police caught 3 tankers illegally transporting chemical waste.The tanker was dumping chemical waste from a factory in Yelahanka Industrial area. The tanker was confiscated by Byadarahalli and RR Nagar police station as reported by Bangalore Mirror.

LOCATIONDrain near RRnagar Arch


➤➤➤➤➤➤13 Mar 2020

  • While on duty, at around 2 a.m., the marshals caught two trucks dumping the chemical waste. Sensing trouble, the drivers drove away before the marshals stopped them. “However, the marshals managed to take down the registration number of vehicles and reported the matter,” said a police officer as reported by The Hindu.

LOCATIONVrishabhavathi River near RajarajeshwariNagar arch 


➤➤➤➤➤➤05 Mar 2020

  • Alert residents and civil society group Namami Vrishabhavati twittered about the yellow chemical dump by five trucks.
                                                                       Image Source:

 LOCATIONDrain leading to Vrishabhavati river near RRnagar Arch (close to Gopalan Arcade)


➤➤➤➤➤➤19 Jan  2020

  • Alert residents of a gated community caught a truck driver trying to dump chemical waste into the Vrishabhavathi river on Saturday night. The truck was seized and the keys were taken away by the residents. But, when the residents, accompanied by the beat police, went to the Kengeri police station to file a complaint, the driver vanished along with the truck as reported by The Hindu.

 LOCATIONVrishabhavati river near Good Earth Orchard, Kengeri


➤➤➤➤➤➤ Nov 2019

  • Kengeri police caught a tanker carrying effluents of Zodiac garments from Yelahanka industrial area. The tanker was apparently destined for Govind Solvents, a common effluent treatment plant, in Tumkur, but instead was dumping midway into Vrishabhavathi river, as reported by Kannada Newspaper Vijaya Karnataka.

 LOCATIONVrishabhavati River near Mylsandra STP on Mysore Rd.


➤➤➤➤➤➤Sep 2019

  • Industrial waste from Harohalli Industrial Area is dumped into the river at night. The farmers find out the next morning as the pungent smell covers the area. This is a frequent occurrence in Kadasikoppa village, which is close to Harohalli Industrial Area. BET investigated and recorded dumping incidents as shown by local farmers in the video below.

 LOCATIONVrishabhavati river near Kadasikoppa (12.693654, 77.405137)


➤➤➤➤➤➤Sep 2019

  • Industrial waste from Harohalli Industrial Area is dumped into the river at night. The farmers find out the next morning as the pungent smell covers the area. Fish kill happened 20 days before BET visited the site, as reported by the locals. Dumping is a frequent occurrence in and around Bannikuppe village, which is next to Harohalli Industrial Area. BET investigated and recorded dumping incidents as shown by local farmers in the video below.

LOCATIONSuvarnamukhi Stream leading to Vrishabhavati river near Banikuppe (12.672170, 77.420522)


➤➤➤➤➤➤24 Jul 2019

  • The RMC Yard police nabbed two tanker drivers red-handed for emptying wastewater from garment factories into a stormwater drain on July 21 as reported by Deccan Herald.


LOCATIONStormwater drain along the ESI Hospital Road, Rajajinagar


➤➤➤➤➤➤15 Jul  2019

  • Daily commute on a stretch near Nayandahalli made a 38-year-old woman stumble on a tanker discharging water mixed with chemicals into a Raja Kaluve (stormwater drain) there. And her relentless efforts have led to the arrest of the tanker driver eventually. FIR filed in Batarayanapura police station as covered by New Indian Express
  • Upon reading the New Indian Express article, BET visited the spot in the early hours of 16th July and found from local interviews that tankers have been routinely dumping toxic effluents into the V-river valley near Mysore Rd, between Gopalan Arcade and Shekar Engineering works. The chemical stench from nightly tanker dumps into Vrishabhavathi river, next to Trident Honda, actually made the employees of Trident Honda sick. The employees complained of nausea, tiredness, stomach ache, nasal irritation etc. Rajarajeshwari Nagar Regional officer (RO) of KSPCB was notified about this clandestine activity. The RO visited the site and coerced the owner of the plot next to Trident Honda to erect a wall, so as to prevent access to the tankers. The wall was erected in a day. Unable to dump next to Trident Honda, the tankers found another convenient spot, next to metro construction site, opposite to Shekar engineering works. This is a great example of how pollution control board finds 'wall' solutions to handle illegal tanker dumps. The video of our investigation below.

LOCATIONVrishabhavathi river Gopalan Arcade and Shekar Engineering works.


➤➤➤➤➤➤26 May 2019

  • The residents of BEML, 5th Stage, Rajarajeshwarinagar, seized a sewage tanker belonging to the Bengaluru Water Supply and Sewerage Board(BWSSB) allegedly dumping untreated sewage into a farm in their locality. They surrounded the vehicle, forced the driver out and took away the keys as reported by The Hindu.

LOCATIONBEML, 5th Stage, Rajarajeshwarinagara


➤➤➤➤➤➤10 May 2019

  • Kamakshipalya assistant sub-inspector Venkatachalaiah, who was patrolling near Sumanahalli Junction at 10pm, caught three men while they were dumping industrial waste into the valley. Alok Sharma, Shyam and Jeelan were getting rid of garment waste, including oil and clothes from a factory in Mahadeshwaranagar, as reported by Times of India.

Vrishabhavathi river near Sumanahalli Junction


➤➤➤➤➤➤Dec 2018

  • Enquiring with the residents of Sir M Visvesvaraya Layout, we found that frequent tanker dumps happens at night and pungent chemical smell that lingers all day causes breathing difficulties. New Indian Express reported BDA executive engineer Devanand saying “We have received information that the disposal of chemicals was done by some people from Peenya Industrial Area. We have not yet traced the actual culprit” Fish end up dead in this lake with the latest fish death reported on 30 May 2020

LOCATIONKomghatta Lake in Vrishabhavathi River Basin



➤➤➤➤➤➤03 Jul 2018

  • Villagers caught a tanker, reported to Bidadi police station and filed an FIR. The Bidadi police did not intimate pollution control board. Eventually, the police closed the FIR with a ‘b’ report, accusing the villagers of malicious intent.


LOCATIONIrrigation channel leading to Vrishabhavati river on Byramangala-Bidadi Rd, Ramanagara


➤➤➤➤➤➤04 Jan 2017

  • KSPCB filed cases against industrial polluters for discharging waste into the Vrishabhavathi river valley. The Board officials, along with the local police, seized three tankers carrying untreated effluents based on a tip-off from locals around the valley. KSPCB chairman Lakshman told DH that this was the first time that the Board had taken such an action. The lorry was carrying effluents to Nice Road instead of going to Govind Solvents in Kunigal, where a common treatment plant is located, as reported by Deccan Herald.

LOCATIONOne Tanker Sheshgirihalli, Bidadi Hobli. Two tankers on Mysore Road



➤➤➤➤➤➤10 Aug 2017

  • The Karnataka Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) has got an FIR filed against New Food Pvt Ltd, which has a unit in KIDAB Industrial Area in Tumkur, for letting out industrial water into the Vrishabhavathi river valley near Uttarahalli–Kenger Road. The KSPCB’s divisional officer in Rajarajeshwari Nagar had received a complaint from a local resident on Wednesday that industrial waste water was being released into the river valley through tankers as covered by by Bangalore Mirror.

LOCATIONVrishabhavathi river near Uttarahalli–Kengeri Road.



➤➤➤➤➤➤07 Sept 2007

  • On September 7, the KSPCB received a call from an informer that some people were extracting copper from industrial effluents at Kambipura area in south Bangalore and discharging the waste water into the Vrishabhavati river. The officials, along with the police, raided the place, as reported by Down to Earth.


LOCATIONFarmland next to Vrishabhavati river in Kambipura area


➤➤➤➤➤➤Dec 2009

  • M/s.Karnataka Chemsyn Ltd from Jigani Industrial Area in Anekal Taluk was illegally dumping hazardous chemical waste near city railway station track in Okalipuram as shown in the report. The industry was compelled to clean up the site.

LOCATIONOkalipuram near City Railway station track in the Vrishabhavathi River basin.


Grave Consequences:

The toxic and non-biodegradable heavy metals and industrial chemicals dumped into Vrishabhavati river are carried into Arkavathi and Cauvery rivers, which form the source of drinking water for humans and wildlife alike. This poisonous chemical medley - a chemist would never mix in a lab, is what flows 24/7, 365 days into the proposed Mekedatu dam, from which we are to receive 5 TMC for drinking. No water treatment plant in the world will remove these non-biodegradable industrial chemicals. 

The situation is even more dire for wildlife and we hardly seem to notice it. Unable to drink this river water, elephants in Bannerghatta National Park and Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary, get angry and destroy human property. Native fish of Vrishabhavati, Arkavathi and Cauvery have all but vanished. Whatever remains are on the path to extinction like the iconic Humpback Masheer in Cauvery, near Mekedatu.

In Conclusion:

The issue is huge and consequences grave. The government has not moved past temporary eyewash solutions like engaging marshals. Citizens need to act. Nothing moves in KSPCB unless the court passes an order, the high court has correctly observed. Who will take this very specific issue of toxic tankers to court?

(This is 3rd in the series of reporting on the issue of 'Nightly Toxic Dumps' The first can be found here and the 2nd here)