For 17 years, the family of late HB Munivenkatappa, residents of Pattandur Agrahara village in Bengaluru, have claimed that 11 acres and 20 guntas of land situated in Pattandur Agrahara Lake (Survey Number 54 area) in Whitefield is their property. But this could all change soon.
This, after the Karnataka High Court accepted the state government's petition alleging that Munivenkatappa had fraudulently converted government land into private property, encroaching on the lake.
The state had filed a petition alleging fraud in the Pattandur Agrahara Lake encroachment issue on June 19. This a day after the Pattandur Agrahara Resident Welfare Association filed a separate petition seeking directions to save the lake bed.
The government's decision to file the petition was a clear departure from its previous stance on the issue. The government had until now never challenged Munivenkatappa's claim on the land even when the issue of illegal dumping in the area flared up towards the end of 2017
Munivenkatappa passed away in 2001 and his claim on the land is under threat now after the High Court decided to hear the state government's petition challenging it.
Munivenkatappa had bought the land under a registered sale deed in December 1960. He passed away in 2001 leaving behind his land with his family members, who are now fighting the case.
According to activists and residents in Whitefield area however, the land is part of a lake bed area of Pattandur Agrahara Lake. Maps stored by the Revenue Department also classify the area as a lake bed.
Since September 2017, the area has come under heavy scrutiny as activists and residents have repeatedly raised alarm over dumping of debris in the lake and its periphery by civic agencies including the BBMP and BMRCL.
They also claim that the dumping and ad-hoc felling of trees in the area flouted NGT rules and is connected to a contentious 80-feet road project linking Varthur-Kodi main road to ITPL.
The Pattandur Agrahara Resident Welfare Association had filed a separate petition seeking directions to save the Pattandur Agrahara Lake.
The petition was filed by residents and activists who have also repeatedly taken to the streets in protest of the dumping. They claim that the dumping will end any chance of reviving the lake.
The PIL had alleged that the state is bound to safeguard the lake and it had failed in its duty and sought the removal of encroachments.
According to an inscription found in the area recently, the lake area dates back more than 900 years to the age of the Cholas and old maps revealed that Rajendra Chola built it in 1043 AD to mark the anniversary of his dynasty.