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Lake conservation bill gets House nod

Last Updated : 09 February 2015, 21:00 IST
Last Updated : 09 February 2015, 21:00 IST

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The Legislative Assembly on Monday passed the Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Authority Bill-2014 which provides for protecting lakes and removing lake encroachment in urban areas.

Forest Minister Ramanath Rai said the bill provided for exercising regulatory control over all lakes within the jurisdiction of 11 municipal corporations in the State, including the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).

Once the legislation comes into effect, the Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Authority headed by the chief secretary will be set up and it will have powers, among others, to identify, recover encroached lakebed and take steps to protect, conserve and restore water bodies in the State.

The bill also has penal provisions. Any person found to be guilty of encroachment of lakebed is liable for imprisonment for a term not less than three years which may be extended to five years.

The bill was passed by a voice vote but not before members expressed concern over some of its provisions.

JD(S) floor leader H D Kumaraswamy said that while the bill provided for the recovery of encroachment, he wondered what would happen to hundreds of families who have built their houses on dried lakes.

“Even the Bangalore Development Authority has constructed a layout on lakebed and allotted sites. What will happen to these sites and to the owners who have bought them” Kumaraswamy asked.

The JD(S) leader said if the provisions of the bill were strictly followed, then even Kanteerva Indoor Stadium will have to be demolished as it was built on a lakebed.

Suresh Kumar (BJP) pointed out that the definition of “lake” in the bill had even included water bodies that had dried up and the same could lead to confusion.

‘Scope for misuse’

Y S V Datta (JD-S) said Section 49 of the bill, which provides for removal of difficulties while implementing the provisions of the legislation, could be misused.

“Real estate sharks could take shelter under the Section and get their encroached land regularised and the poor will have to witness their dwellings demolished,” the legislator said.

Law Minister T B Jayachandra said the government would take steps to ensure that the common man was not put to hardship while framing the rules.

The government will also wait till a legislature committee headed by Congress MLA K B Koliwad, constituted to probe the encroachment of lakes in and around Bengaluru, submits its report before framing the rules, he said.

What it entails  * Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Authority, headed by the chief secretary, will be set up
* It will have powers, among others, to identify, recover encroached lakebed and take steps to protect, conserve and restore water bodies.
* Any person found to be guilty of encroachment of lakebed is liable for imprisonment for a term not less than three years, which may be extended to five years.

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Published 09 February 2015, 21:00 IST

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