Feeding hunger of land sharks could leave us thirsty, say residents

Feeding hunger of land sharks could leave us thirsty, say residents

They allege projects swallowing wetland, fear floods during rains

Hundreds of apartment dwellers from Bellandur, Sarjapur Road, HSR Layout and residents of Koramangala staged a demonstration on Sunday, shouting slogans like ‘Neeru beku, mall beda’ (want water, not mall).  

They were protesting against two massive commercial and housing projects coming up on 100 acres, said to be wetland, opposite the Agara lake and leading to Bellandur lake.The projects are promoted by Mantri Techzone Pvt Ltd and Coremind Software Pvt Ltd, an associate company of Salarpuria Constructions.

S Subramanian, executive committee member of the Mahadevapura Parisara Samrakshane Mattu Abhivrudhi Samithi, said that there have been serious violations by the two firms in getting various clearances. 

“Both projects have got single-window clearances from Karnataka Udyoga Mitra. The documents we have show that the construction area has been massively understated by Mantri Techzone, while getting single-window clearances,” he said.  

Dr Radhakrishnan, a resident of Koramangala, says that the BWSSB has issued no objection certificate for the project that is expected to consume over 135 million litres of water a month, more than that supplied to Koramangala, HSR Layout and Bellandur together.

Prabha Sundar, a resident of HSR Layout, said that the proposed project will have a major ecological impact as it is coming up on a wetland connecting two lakes.

Harini Nagendra, a consultant from ATREE, says that the Agara and Bellandur lakes are connected through this wetland. If the wetland is encroached upon, it will prove costly.

The natural flood plans of the Bellandur wetland will go for a toss whenever there are rains and there is a real threat of flooding in Koramangala and HSR Layout, she said.

The residents claim that the land was originally classified as ‘protected’ in the draft Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP)-2015 and the status was changed to ‘sensitive’ in the final CDP-2015.

KIADB acquired the land and allotted it to the real estate promoters, they said. Environmental clearance by the Forest ministry was given to Mantri, whereas clearance was rejected for Coremind Software. 

The residents fear that they could suffer a major water problem as the groundwater table will deplete further. With major IT parks and residential complexes coming up in the vicinity, there could be more cars added to the narrow stretch of Sarjapur Road.

Reacting to the protest, P K Mishra, vice-president, Salarpuria group, said that they have not violated any rules and have all the documents in place, to construct the IT park. 

“First of all, it is not a wetland. We have all clearances from the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority and the clearance document is uploaded on the website,” he said. However, representatives of the Mantri Group were not available for comment.

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