The fight against encroachment of the Pattandur Agrahara lake saw a new development on Thursday, with citizen activists producing a British survey map from 1865 which shows the boundaries of the lake clearly marked.
In the space of nine days, the Karnataka High Court issued two vastly different orders with regard to the lake. First, it pulled the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, the Bengaluru Development Authority, the Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Authority and the government for dumping waste into the lake illegally, and asked for the encroachments to be cleared.
Just as citizen groups began celebrating, the court issued its next order ordering officials from the Revenue Department to transfer revenue records to the names of private parties that have laid claim to the lake.
Now, citizen activists have produced a map from 1865 that appears to clearly indicate the lake area and also outlines the rajakaluves, bringing into question why buildings cropped up on the lake area and why debris was dumped in the lake over the years.
Sandeep Anirudhan, a citizen activist spearheading efforts to save the lake, revealed that the map was recovered from a landlord in the area. "It will help us in our efforts to save the lake as we are readying a case in the Supreme Court," said Sandeep.
Citizen activists are preparing to file a PIL in the Supreme Court to examine the trail of events that lead to the High Court transferring the land to private parties.
Since September 2017, the buffer zone around the lake area has been constantly encroached on by various civic authorities, including the BBMP and Namma Metro.
The BBMP has been accused of building the 80-feet road connecting ITPL and Varthur Kodi through the lake area, while the Namma Metro has been accused of dumping debris into the lake from a nearby metro construction site.
Residents of the area have been protesting, but the HC's latest order means that the threat of encroachment in the lake is imminent. The court’s decision follows a 2016 decree that declared that the lake area is private.