The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has taken a U-turn after it was accused of constructing a 25-feet-wide road through the Hosakerehalli Lake in Bengaluru’s RR Nagar to allegedly provide access to and benefit a luxury project coming up nearby.
The BBMP, which started work 10-12 days ago, clarified that the road being constructed was temporary since it was carrying out de-silting work.
Speaking to CNN-News18, BBMP’s Special Commissioner said: “I was not aware of the road being constructed through the lake and will instruct the work to be stopped immediately and remove the mud being dumped.” Action will also be taken against the errant officials.
The civic body’s troubles began when nearby residents headed by environmentalist Joseph Hoover noticed the construction and raised an alarm to prevent the impending danger on the ecosystem.
Following the backlash, BBMP put out a public notice outside the lake, stating that no permanent road was being constructed but a temporary mound of mud had been placed to facilitate movement of vehicles removing debris and silt from the lake.
Hoover, however, disagreed with the clarification and said de-silting can be carried out manually which would eliminate the need for vehicles.
“A part of the lake is being destroyed in the name of development and rejuvenation. This lake doesn’t need de-silting. It was de-silted in 2017. All it needs is de-weeding which can be done manually. We are noticing the game the government is playing. The Karnataka Tank Conservation Development Authority is not aware and neither is the BBMP commissioner. We want the government to tell us what’s happening here,” said Hoover.
Local resident Rachana Ravikiran, while speaking to CNN-News18, said: “Whenever we asked the BBMP to clean the lake, they always claimed they don’t have funds. Suddenly we wake up one morning and see this intrusion which is totally unnecessary. They are destroying the biodiversity. It is utterly selfish to just think about human beings and economy. We have initiated a petition. We need clarity on what’s happening.”
Hoover also alleged foul play in the construction work and questioned the department behind it.
“BBMP is doing drama here. A lake engineer named Shilpa, whom I spoke to, says she is not aware of the work and it is being carried out by someone else. She said they have not yet invited a tender for the work. The spot engineer working there says a park is being built. On the other hand, BBMP has put up a poster about de-silting. So who exactly is working here? Authorities are not aware and the environment impact assessment and detailed project report haven’t been prepared. So, who’s doing the work?” asked Hoover.
News18 tried reaching out to lake engineer Shilpa but did not get a response.
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