Over 10,000 Acres of Bengaluru Lakes Encroached, Panel Asks Govt to Show No Sympathy to Builders and Babus
The legislature committee on lake encroachment asked the government to form a judicial committee to probe officers who allowed construction for negligence and collusion, and recover cost from them for losses caused by their nexus with private builders.
The panel said that efforts must be made to revive parts of lakes, wherever possible. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)
Bengaluru: A day after a study showed that not a single lake in Bengaluru city has water fit for drinking or bathing, a legislature committee on lakes said more than one-fifth area of lakes has been encroached upon.
The committee, headed by Speaker KB Koliwad, has been studying the issue on a case-by-case basis for nearly two years. It tabled its 247-page report in the legislature on Tuesday.
While in its interim report it had identified more than 11,000 encroachers, the new report said that 10,786 acres out of 57,932 acres area of lakes in Bangalore are under encroachment. In case of ponds, 1,256 acres out of 8,119 acres have been encroached upon.
The committee asked the government to take stringent action and show no sympathy to encroachments done for commercial buildings but looked kindly upon encroachments by ‘innocent’ residents - those who have bought flats or homes without realising they were being sold properties built on lake beds.
Among the biggest offenders was the government-run Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), which has built residential societies over 41 lakes. It said allottees of plots cannot be asked to vacate as they will be rendered homeless overnight.
However, the officials who allowed such encroachments should be brought to book, the report said. The report also asked the government to form a judicial committee to probe such officers for negligence and collusion, and recover cost from them for losses caused by their nexus with private builders.
It added that under no circumstances should commercial activity be allowed in lake beds and all commercial buildings should be brought down without a shred of sympathy.
The panel said that efforts must be made to revive parts of lakes, wherever possible. It suggested that the government seriously take up cases of people who have lived next to lakes for years and levy a one-time fee or a yearly-lease as penalty.
It also recommended the government to constitute an independent authority headed by an Additional Chief Secretary rank officer to oversee upkeep of all water bodies - and all future projects must go through this authority before getting a sanction from civic authorities.
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