If one had to make a list of reports on civic issues in Bengaluru in 2015, the Bellandur lake's frothing problem will surely top the list. It is an open secret that one of the reasons for the frothing problem was encroachment of lakebeds by builders.
But, Bellandur isn't the only lake that's been choked.
A 2014-2015 report by the Lakebed Encroachment Committee says that over 24 private builders and a few government bodies have encroached around 11,000 acres of lakebed in and around Bengaluru.
On Friday, Congress legislator KB Koliwad, head of the 11-member committee that was formed in October 2014 by the Karnataka government, named the violators, who have been given a show-cause notice.
In their response, that should come by January 31, they must justify why the government must not take action on them.
Among the private encroachers were some well known builders like Adarsh Developers, Prestige Group, Shobha Developers, Advaita Developers and Bagmane Techpark. Among the government bodies, Koliwad said that Bangalore Development Authority topped the list.
Other public encroachers were Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), Public Works Department (PWD), forest department and education department.
“Out of the 10,472 acres and 34 guntas of encroached land, over 3287 acres of land was encroached by government bodies and over 7185 acres by private builders and developers,” the committee report said.
BDA allotted 65,000 sites on encroached lake beds, the report added.
However, the committee, which has been conducting this study for the last 14 months, has not come up with recommendations yet.
“We have to give an opportunity for natural justice and so we will go ahead with recommendations only after we receive a response from them. The whole process would take at least 3 months,” he said.
Asked whether he would recommend severe measures against violators, he said, “We can’t just uproot the buildings that have been there for 20 years. Also the ones who are residing in the land might not be responsible. The violators must have sold the property to someone who was not aware of this.”
“Not just encroachers, even the government departments, who have given permission to supply electricity and water must also be held responsible,” he added.
Both private encroachers and government officials who fabricate fake documents to facilitate this should be punished by filing criminal cases, Koliwad said.
Koliwad said that the committee has recommended the government to keep an eye on latest violators.
“No encroachment would be tolerated after the final committee report is out,” he said.