Major demolition drive on to clear encroached lake beds

Major demolition drive on to clear encroached lake beds

A major operation to clear lake beds of encroachments in the city continued today as authorities issued notices to private building owners in some areas, warning of demolition if their documents were illegal.

In the drive launched since the past few days, several multi-storeyed commercial buildings and houses have been razed to the ground in areas such as Banashankari and Banasvadi.

"Some private buildings in Banaswadi were found to be illegally constructed on a lake-bed. We will demolish these structures if proper documents are not furnished to us. However a final decision will be taken by state government," officials said.

The documents provided by the building owners will be scrutinised, they said.
The notices issued to private building owners have created a storm with the occupants lambasting the government authorities for "cheating" them years ago.

"Bangalore Development Authority officials have threatened us of demolition in next 15 days. What were they doing for 20 long years? Didn't the officials then know we were building on the so-called 'lake-bed'. They could have not allowed us to build then? We did not know it is illegally built on lake-bed," the residents claimed.

"If we are found guilty on setting up buildings on tank bed, then those officials who gave us permission to build are also guilty. Will the government take action against the corrupt officials and politicians - everyone knows. They just want to protect big fish," they said, as tempers ran high with the demolition underway in full swing.

Another resident said BDA had formed the layout on Banaswadi lake land and had sold the sites to more than 200 people in 1985.

"I purchased one of the sites in 1985 and constructed a building with my hard earned money.I have been paying property tax and electricity bills. Now the administration says our building is standing on a government lake," he said.

Bengaluru District In Charge Minister Ramalinga Reddy promised to initiate action against corrupt officials involved in giving permission to build structures on the lake-bed.

The Minister, however, said buildings built on government allotted land would not be touched. "There is a difference between allotment and encroachment ... we will not touch those structures standing on government-alloted sites."

Meanwhile, demolition of illegal buildings on Banaswadi lake-bed area,which began on May 2 continued today.

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