'Fishing rights in Ulsoor Lake raising a stench'

Udayshankar told reporters that this was just an example of how deeply corruption was entrenched in the Palike. He said the Palike had invited tenders for fishing rights in Ulsoor lake on August 28, 2008.

Of the seven agencies which expressed interest, Dr Ambedkar Souharda Labour Contract Cooperative Ltd was the highest bidder, quoting Rs 6.66 lakh.

“But as per a gazette notification dated February 16, 2006, fishing rights cannot be given by BBMP and only the Fisheries Department can grant them,” said Udayshankar.

Following this, another agency, Bangalore District Fish Production, Processing and Marketing Cooperative Society Ltd approached the High Court and got a stay. The High Court in March 2010, directed BBMP to quash the earlier tender and re-notify the fishing rights in the lake.

The Dr Ambedkar Souharda Labour Contract Cooperative Ltd, on October 16, 2010, wrote to the Commissioner claiming a loss of Rs 64 lakh as the company had already started breeding fish in the lake.

The Palike legal cell opined that the civic body was not responsible for reimbursing the losses as it was not mentioned in the tender conditions.

Despite this, the Horticulture Superintendent (East) sent a recommendation on January 13, 2011, asking the Palike to pay the company compensation. “The Palike did a U-turn and stated that it can reimburse half the losses to the company and even released Rs 32 lakh,” said Udayshankar.

The Opposition leader claimed that, in the past two years, illegal fishing was also taking place in Ulsoor lake and nearly 100 kg of fish was being extracted from the water body daily. He alleged that the BBMP officials were hand in glove with fishermen and that the Commissioner must initiate action against them.

“A case of trespassing under section 374 of the Indian Penal Code should be filed against these fishermen," he said.

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