Encroachments, a City-wide problem of plenty

Encroachments, a City-wide problem of plenty

Encroachments, a City-wide problem of plenty

Residents across the City have complaints galore about the poor state of the stormwater drains (SWDs). If builders and private parties are to blame in many instances, BBMP and the public themselves are guilty in certain areas. 

Many say they had raised their voice against the blatant violations, but the BBMP and other civic authorities had done nothing. For instance, Ajay Alur, a resident of Mandur, had seen a private institution near his area turn the SWD into a dumping ground. This, he says, is no less than an encroachment. 

Explains Ajay, “The SWD was earlier filled with only rainwater, but since one year it has only sewage water. A nearby school has been letting sewage water and wet waste directly into the drain. We are now forced to close the doors all day.” He had approached the Mandur Grama Panchanyat and even filed a police complaint. But no action has been taken yet. As a last resort, he intends to approach the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board.

 Faced with the same problem, S Umesh, President, Five Year Law Course Advocates’ Association, had earlier filed a public interest litigation in the High Court against the Palike about the rampant encroachments of the SWDs in the City. The High Court had on August 4, 2011 passed an order directing the civic body to demolish SWD encroachments without giving a notice to the encroachers. 

However, as Umesh points out, till date the direction is not being followed by the Palike. “The Palike officials are indeed taking action against the small huts and buildings that are encroaching the SWDs. But they have turned mute spectators as huge land sharks are gobbling up the SWDs. They are being partial and are hand in glove with the builders.” 

The issue finds its echo in different parts of the City. In Ulsoor, the residents talk about a time when the SWDs were once clean and devoid of any encroachments. There was no such thing as a stinking drain. But now, even the people behind a big religious institution are now accused of taking land that was originally a stormwater drain. Taking the cue, many building owners here have extended their houses and office spaces into the space earmarked for the SWDs. 

The drain has been misused so badly that people don’t think twice before dumping animal carcasses, garbage and other filth into it, rues an old Ulsoor resident, Harish M. Similar complaints are heard from Mysore Road, Banaswadi, Kadugodi, Benson Town and other areas. The drain, definitely, is in pain.