Preserve water bodies, BTC told

Ktaka has leased out 152 acres of land to turf club

In an affidavit, the State Government said: “The lease is subject to the condition that 56 acres, 10 gunthas of land where there is water storage shall be preserved for maintenance by the government.’’

The affidavit filed by government advocate Sanjay Hegde added: “Out of 85 acres of land, 10 acres of land shall be used only for vehicle parking. The Bangalore Turf Club is required to make arrangements for free flow of water to the tank by properly directing the channels.’’

Seeking dismissal of the application filed before the apex court, the government said the shift of the turf club from its present location to beyond the limit of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) would provide the much-needed lung space to City dwellers.
The areas that has been earmarked is beyond the limits of the BBMP, and such shifting would result in the reduction of pollution levels, said the affidavit.
A bench comprising Justices Markandeya Katju and Ashok Kumar Ganguly adjourned the matter for hearing on Tuesday.

On the last date of hearing on the matter, the bench had passed an oral order to stay the transfer of the land to the turf club. After receiving the opinion of the Irrigation Department, the State Government said it has decided to give 85 acres of land on lease to the club at Doddajala, Chikkajala and Meenukunte village on an annual lease rent of Rs 50,000 per acre, subject to an enhancement of 10 per cent every two years.
The apex court had issued notice to the government, asking it to respond to a PIL on the alleged illegal transfer of 95 acres of tank-bed land in north Bangalore to the BTC for the construction of a race course.

“Karnataka be restrained from interfering with the current status of the tank beds in the State, and most particularly the 152 acres in Chikkajala/ Doddajala in north Bangalore where the BTC racecourse is to be shifted,’’ said the PIL.

The application said according to the 2001 policy paper of the National Centre for Agricultural Economics and Policy Research (NCAP), Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Orissa accounted for 60 per cent of the country’s tank irrigated area, and that they have lost as much as 37 per cent of land from 1965 to 2000.

A study by the Centre for Ecological Sciences and the IISc found that the tank and lake cover has reduced by over 2,300 acres between 1975 and 2005, leading to an adverse impact on the environment.

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