Officials, land sharks join hands to encroach lake

Officials, land sharks join hands to encroach lake

Sarakki water body sees mushrooming of properties

Officials, land sharks join hands to encroach lake

Thanks to the active connivance of revenue officials with the land sharks, “genuine” properties have come up on the encroached portion of Sarakki Lake.

To kill the lake further, the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) wanted to asphalt the road, which has been constructed illegally and bisects the water body into two parts. The BBMP stopped the project only after the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), the custodian of the lake, raised a hue and cry.

Sarakki Lake, which is shown as 82 acres and 24 guntas on paper, has now been reduced to 63 acres on the ground. Despite a year of struggle and a volley of correspondence with the revenue department officials, BDA officials could not succeed in getting a certified sketch of Sarakki Lake. It was only after the People’s Campaign for Water, an NGO, filed a public interest litigation that the revenue officials came out with a sketch, which again is faulty.

Faulty sketch

The fear of High Court rap seems to have instilled some fear among the revenue officials, who came out with the new map on April 16, this year. But again, the map does not show the actual extent of the encroachment except for those sites which do not have “valid permission.” It only says that a mere 2 acres and 30 guntas had been encroached while in reality 20 acres had been grabbed.

A top BDA official told Deccan Herald that “genuine sites” had come up on the encroached portion as the layout carved out of lake land had been diverted for residential purposes.

As the layout has got all permissions, the revenue officials are now in a fix how to set right the illegality.

The official said, “This was the reason that the revenue officials never heeded to our repeated pleas for the survey sketch of the lake and demarcation of its boundary.”
The lake was handed over to the BDA about one and a half years ago. And the ordeal of the BDA officials began.

The officials had to ask to the revenue officials several times to demarcate the lake boundary and clear encroachments. They also wrote four letters to them—first one on May 7, 2012, and the last one, as recently as on April 30, 2013. They are yet to receive any reply.

The BBMP, too, played a very proactive role in killing the water body. The BDA official said: “A road has come up illegally right in the middle of the lake dividing the water body into two. To make it a permanent structure, the BBMP wanted to asphalt it. When we learnt about it we wrote a letter to the BBMP on September 25, 2012, to stop the work. As a result, the BBMP gave up the project.”