August 31 deadline for closing defunct borewells

 Transport Minister R Ramalinga Reddy, who is also the district in-charge minister of Bangalore Urban, on Tuesday set a deadline for closure of all defunct borewells, both on private and government lands in and around Bangalore, by August-end.

Speaking to reporters after a Karnataka Development Programmes review meeting of the Bangalore (Urban) Zilla Panchayat, Reddy said a survey had identified 2,500 defunct borewells in 110 villages of which 1,500 had also been capped. “We have set a deadline of August 31 for the closure of the remaining borewells, failing which criminal action will be initiated against the owner of the private land, the contractor who drilled the borewell and against the ward engineer in the case of government land,” Reddy said.

Reddy said potholes on 2,000-km stretch of roads in Bangalore will be filled up by August 15. Earlier at the meeting, Reddy instructed officials to commence a drive to clear encroachment of lakes and rajakaluve (natural canals) in Bangalore. MLAs S R Vishwanath, S Muniraju and S T Somashe­k­ar, who participated in the meeting, complained about the delay in the recovery of encroached lakebed in their respective constituencies.

Vishwanth alleged that officials had given false information to the minor irrigation minister that Shinganayakanahalli lake had been fenced. However, no such development had taken place. 

Vishwanth sought action against the officials. The minister said a survey of illegal layouts would be held within a week and action initiated. The anti-encroachment drive should also include recovering encroached land belonging to government schools, Vishwanth said.

Official pointed out that grants had been released for the construction of a school building in Amurthahalli, but the project had not taken off as the school land had been encroached upon. Reddy blamed officials for not taking steps to protect the land and instructed that the recovery process should be completed within a month.

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