A day ahead of the Supreme Court’s hearing of final arguments on the issue of lake buffer zones, the Namma Bengaluru Foundation (NBF) has accused the state government of siding with errant real estate companies. The Karnataka government is contesting an NGT order to prevent retrospective application of buffer zones to water bodies, by the green court.
“The big David vs Goliath fight has now gone all the way to Supreme Court. Builders supported by Rahul Gandhi’s government with their six-seven big expensive lawyers are trying to overturn NGT order with only citizen groups like Namma Bengaluru Foundation to defend and protect Bengaluru. This exposes Rahul Gandhi’s hypocrisy and his government's deep links to contractors and builders exploiting and destroying our Bengaluru,” Rajeev Chandrasekhar, BJP Rajya Sabha MP and chairman of NBF, said.
The Karnataka government had approached the apex court seeking to quash an NGT order passed on December 6, while hearing the Bellandur lake case. The NGT’s Principal Bench besides imposing a fine of Rs 50 crore on the Karnataka government and Rs 25 crore on BBMP, had passed a judgement specifying buffer zone of 75 metres in case of lakes, 50 metres for primary, 35 metres for secondary and 25 metres for tertiary raja-kaluves.
The NGT has also asked the state government to transfer Rs 500 crore to an escrow account for execution of the action plan to clean Bellandur. It has further warned a fine of Rs 100 crore if the government fails to take corrective action.
Speaking on the issue, Karnataka’s Advocate General Udaya Holla had earlier said, “All activities remain stalled due to the directions. About 30,000 flat owners would lose their dwellings despite all clearances given by the state government.”
Even Bengaluru Development Minister had cited practical difficulties in implementing the NGT order in terms of buffer zones. He was quoted as saying, “In Maharashtra, Delhi and other places, the buffer zone is 15 m. To maintain a buffer zone that is five times more in a city like Bengaluru is practically difficult. This has to be brought to the notice of the NGT.”