Goons, builders threaten NGT panel at lake inspection

Goons, builders threaten NGT panel at lake inspection

National Green Tribunal Commission recommended Monitoring Committee members holding discussion with citizens during an inspection drive. DH file photo.

Members of a committee constituted by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) are facing threats from goons and builders during their visits to Bellandur and Varthur lakes. They have now decided to inform the green panel.

Worried over the safety of the committee members and about its image, the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) has requested the government to provide security to the members inspecting the waterbodies.

“Some of the committee members had told us about the threats they got from local goons. But a few days ago, during an inspection, even we witnessed the threats from goons from Kolar and Bengaluru,” said a senior BDA official on condition of anonymity.

“Shockingly, some builders are also hand in glove with the goons. This is pertaining to contaminated waterbodies, shrinking wetlands and buffer zones. So to ensure that there are no untoward incidents, we have requested the state government to provide them security all time, especially while on inspection,” the official said.

T V Ramachandra, an NGT committee member and professor at IISc, said he was threatened many times in the past. But this has continued even after he became the committee member.

He said the goons had even issued death threats to him.

Recollecting a recent incident, he said while he along with committee chief and retired Lokayukta Justice N Santosh Hegde and U V Singh were inspecting KC valley and the two lakes, despite the presence of officials, they were threatened with dire consequences.

The committee has taken note of the contamination in Kolar waterbodies and the two lakes. The committee also noted of the violations of the 30- metre buffer zone ruling also.

“The people affected by the findings and reports do not seem to be amused and have realised that they were in trouble. It seems to be a reaction to that. Some experts and volunteers at Bellandur and Varthur lakes even identified the goons associated with political parties and influentials,” another member of the committee said.