A committee headed by Karnataka Assembly Speaker KB Koliwad has presented an extensive report in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly that reveals that over 10,000 acres of lake area has been encroached in Bengaluru Urban and Rural districts.
The report states that 10,785 acres or around 18% of lake area has been encroached in 1,547 lakes in the two districts.
Real estate firms like Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises (NICE), Bagmane Tech Park, Enzime Tech Park, Brigade Developers, Adarsh Developers and Oasis Apartments figure in the list of encroachers named in the report.
The committee, appointed three years ago prepared its report by meticulously conducting studies headed by experts along with personal visits to some of the lakes in Bengaluru.
The report highlights encroachment by both governmental and private bodies. Encroachment by private organisations amounted to 69.8 % of the total encroachment as opposed to 30.2% of encroachment by government agencies.
The committee recommended strict action, particularly against private bodies involved in lake encroachment.
The report also pulled up governmental organisations including the Bengaluru Development Authority (BDA)and the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) that constructed buildings in lake areas, flouting norms.
However, the makers of the report took a softer view of encroachments done by the government and its agencies to provide basic amenities to people, and recommended that measures should be taken, to leave these facilities intact.
The government-run BDA figures among the biggest offenders, but the report noted that the people allotted plots by the BDA could not be asked to vacate as they will be homeless overnight.
Commercial activities were opposed in the report stating it should not be allowed on lake beds and commercial buildings should be taken down.
Only 91 lakes out of 837 in Bengaluru Urban were identified to be encroachment-free, which highlighted the severity of the problem.
Revenue Minister Kagodu Thimmappa disclosed in the Legislative Assembly that the district administration in Bengaluru was yet to file suo moto cases against encroachers. The Minister also said that there are provisions for filing criminal cases against encroachers of lakes.