BDA should act responsibly

It is incomprehensible how a government body like the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) which, as its name suggests, is meant to develop the city of Bengaluru, reinvents itself as an encroacher and blatantly flouts rules that it is meant to oversee. The case of encroachment of the Venkatarayana tank at Gubbalala village on the outskirts of Benga-luru is indicative of the utter contempt that the BDA displays for the welfare of the city.

While concerned citizens have been crying hoarse for the protection and rejuvenation of the few surviving city’s lakes, the BDA merrily occupies the Venkatarayana tank bed, forms a layout and allots at least 118 sites to individuals. Of these, 18 have already built houses in the sites allotted to them. After a local resident of Gubbalala village filed a complaint with the Lokayukta on the encroachment of the tank, the BDA’s shenanigans have come to light and it is, without doubt, dispiriting for the common Bengalurean that a body which was meant to protect the people’s interest has instead done what any encroacher would do. The argument of the BDA is even more indicative of its utter callousness in dealing with disappearing lakes in the City. The BDA argues that the tank was dry as its catchment area had been encroached upon. Therefore, the BDA decided that it would form a layout in that spot.  What is shocking is that instead of promising to investigate why the catchment area had been disturbed and ensure that the tank would get free access to its source of water so that it would rejuvenate, the BDA decides to go ahead and capitalise on the misfortunes of a dying tank.

BDA Commissioner T Sham Bhat and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah (in his capacity as BDA Chairman) need to introspect and find out why the body they lead has regressed into an organisation that has turned notorious for its opportunism. Fortunately due to the intervention of the Lokayukta, the encroachments have been stopped and the BDA has been forced to withdraw from the layout and take steps to restore the lake to its former water-filled glory. The plight of the 118 individuals who bought sites believing the BDA and, worse, the condition of those who constructed houses on their sites, is most pitiable. Many individuals dream of owning a site and constructing a house hoping it will provide them security in the evening of their lives. To discover they have been pulled into an illegal transaction is nothing short of a nightmare. The BDA has, indeed, a lot to answer for.

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