200 surveyors to measure 1,400-odd lakes

200 surveyors to measure 1,400-odd lakes

The House Committee on lake protection, which met on Tuesday, has decided to ask the Revenue department to appoint 200 surveyors to survey 1,400-odd lakes in Bengaluru urban and rural areas.

Addressing the media after the meeting, Committee Chairman K B Koliwad said that following the panel’s directive, the Revenue department and BDA together had cleared encroachments on 1,048 lakes. While the BDA had cleared encroachments on 62.27 acres, the Revenue department had cleared encroachments on 985.28 acres. The exact value of the lands reclaimed is yet to be ascertained, he added.

Despite the High Court’s verdict to clear the encroachments, the custodians of the lakes had not acted on it till the committee directed them to do so. The Committee, which has been given an extension till September 30 to submit its report, will do a reality check, he stated.

Koliwad said that the Committee would categorise encroachments under two categories - encroachments by government agencies, and encroachments by private organisations and individuals.

“In case of encroachments by government agencies, we will ask the government to either regularise them or remove them by passing a legislation. In case of private encroachments, the Committee will ask  them to be demolished, including those by major developers like Mantri,” he said.

Taking a dig at fellow Committee members including JD(S)’s H D Kumaraswamy and BJP’s Suresh Kumar, Koliwad said, the leaders had unanimously agreed to clear encroachments upon lakes. “However, now they are trying to take political advantage of the situation by demanding that the demolition drive be stopped,” he said.

Misinterpretation

The House Committee has not taken into account JD(S) floor leader H D Kumaraswamy’s appeal to write to the government seeking it to halt the demolition drive on lakes.

Kumaraswamy, who was present at the meeting, said that it had been decided not to make such a recommendation to the government, as it could be misinterpreted. “It would seem like some of us are trying to protect the interests of some rich builders. I will however write to the Chief Minister in my personal capacity to protect the interest of the people by stalling the demolition drive,” he added.

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