Lake panels lack penal laws, says principal secretary

Lake panels lack penal laws, says principal secretary

Lake panels lack penal laws, says principal secretary

Urban Development Department Principal Secretary P N Srinivasachari on Friday said the government had followed the directions of the High Court in forming lake committees.

He said that currently the government has not promulgated any law or act to take action against officials for ignoring complaints. “We have only formed committees as directed by the High Court. To have penal regulations, we need to formulate a law,” he said.

The committees will check encroachment, influx of sewage and the proper development of lakes. However, there is no timeframe to act on complaints and provision for action against officials who ignore these complaints. There is no mechanism in the committees to check the status of complaints or suggestions.

Apex body

Following a petition filed by the Environment Support Group (ESG), the Karnataka High Court had directed the State government to constitute lake committees and an apex body to act on complaints related to the poor condition of lakes in the City.

Even though encroachment of lakes and dumping of sewage into them was rampant, the government did not act. Subsequently, the ESG moved a contempt petition in the Karnataka High Court against the chief secretary following which the government formed committees at district level.

It also formed an apex body, comprising principal secretaries of Urban and Revenue departments, CEO of Lake Development Authority and member secretary of State Legal Services Authority. There is a provision for people to approach the committees as well as the apex body with their complaints.

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