Lake encroachers keep officials at bay

Revenue officials and surveyors, who had come to survey Subramanyapura lake in Uttarahalli, had to retreat without performing their duty due to stiff resistance from encroachers on Thursday.

According to sources, revenue officials and surveyors came along with BDA officials and five policemen to Subramanyapura in the morning to demarcate boundary of one of the oldest lakes in Bangalore. Since the Karnataka High Court has shown interest in protecting and rehabilitating the water body, officials were compelled to show progress. However, the moment officials reached the spot and began their work, they were surrounded by encroachers who protested against the demarcation.

Encroachers demanded completion of their residential quarters before demarcating the lake boundary. They said without proper rehabilitation they will not allow anyone to uproot them from the place they have been living for the past two decades.

Officials’ apathy rued

They apprised the officials of the apathetic attitude of Karnataka Slum Development Board’s (KSDB), which was supposed to finish a residential project for them by February 2010, but has hardly completed five per cent of the work.

The officials assured the agitators that they will not displace them and appealed for their co-operation to demarcate the boundary but they did not budge. Finally, the officials left without demarcating the boundary.

Later speaking to Deccan Herald, Nagaraj, a local leader, said there was a conspiracy to drive away all urban poor to the outskirts of the City to pave the way for big apartments.
“The sight of the slum and slum dwellers worries owners of big properties near Subramanyapura Lake. They want the poor slum dwellers to be driven out of Bangalore City,” said Nagaraj.

He accused the KSDB of hushing up money, which was meant for providing shelter to the urban poor who have settled near the Subramanyapura lake.

Another resident, Satish, feared that the land given to KSDB to build a residential quarters for encroachers may be up for grabs.

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