Another lake encroached upon in Bengaluru: Activists slam K’taka govt’s apathy

The Lokayukta had ordered a survey of Mallasandra Gudda lake, based on a complaint filed by United Bengaluru, when the encroachment was reported.
Another lake encroached upon in Bengaluru: Activists slam K’taka govt’s apathy
Another lake encroached upon in Bengaluru: Activists slam K’taka govt’s apathy

In another incident of authorities turning a blind eye and enabling encroachers, construction activity was spotted in Mallasandra Gudde lake in Bengaluru, within the 75-metre National Green Tribunal mandated buffer zone of the lake. Any construction activity within this buffer zone is illegal.

Based on the Lokayukta’s orders, state government officials inspected the lake on Friday only to find this illegal construction activity. The Lokayukta had ordered a joint survey of the lake on hearing a complaint by United Bengaluru – a coalition of Resident Welfare Associations and NGOs regarding lakes in the Arkavathy basin.

Members of United Bengaluru said officials from the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) and Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), which is the custodian of the lake, did not attend the survey despite the Lokayukta directing them to do so.

Suresh NR, Convenor of United Bengaluru, said, “In the hearing that happened last month, few officials claimed lakes which came in their jurisdiction has been encroached upon, so Lokayukta called for the re-survey of lake. In 2015, all the lakes were surveyed, so the new surveys will l establish the further encroachment that has taken place.”

He added, “The absence of the BDA, KSPCB and other officers make it clear how much importance Bengaluru’s lakes get. They have not even respected the Lokayukta order. If they do not listen to the Lokayukta, whom will they listen to? This is the voice of the common citizens. It is evident that there have been private encroachments on this lake. Everything will be brought to the notice of the Lokayukta and National Green Tribunal.”

On Friday, the preliminary survey showed that a total of 17 acres of the lake have been encroached.

Santosh, Assistant Director of Land Records (Bengaluru North), said, “In Survey Number 49, there is an encroachment of 11 acres and in Survey Number 50, and 6 acres seems to have been encroached upon. We have taken measurements of the land and it will be cross-checked with prior records and a new date will be fixed. It will be verified in the presence of BDA officers.”

He added, “There is a graveyard, mosque and a few other developmental activities that have come up here in the last few years. We have to see what has come up since 2015.”

Friday’s development comes with the National Green Tribunal still hearing multiple cases related to Bengaluru’s lakes after taking suo motu cognisance of the Bellandur Lake fire in February 2017. Environmentalists on the ground say despite the scathing observations of the NGT, nothing has changed much for better with regards to the city's lakes.


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