Koliwad promises leniency to victims of land mafia

House panel on stock-taking trip to lakes; no point in reclaiming dead lakes: HDK
Last Updated 20 May 2015, 04:59 IST

K B Koliwad, chairperson of the House panel on lake encroachments, on Tuesday said that the panel would be sympathetic to those cheated by land grabbers who carved out layouts on lake lands and created forged documents in connivance with officials.

He was speaking to reporters after visiting nine lakes in Bengaluru South taluk of the Bengaluru Urban district. Almost silent for the last six months ever since it came into being, the panel led by Koliwad and other members such as former chief minister and JD-S leader H D Kumaraswamy, former urban development minister S Suresh Kumar, Shantinagar MLA N A Haris and Bengaluru South MLA M Krishnappa visited the lakes. Koliwad said there should not be any discrimination between the rich and poor in the anti-encroachment drive.

“Our aim is to protect innocent people who have been cheated, recommend stringent action against those who ruined the lakes and deceived people, and also, restore the ecological balance. We will take a decision that safeguards the interests of people,” said Koliwad.

Kumaraswamy sought to know the logic behind reclaiming those lakes which have completely lost their features. He said he is in the panel as a voice of the poor who cannot approach the court and get a stay against the demolition of buildings, unlike the rich and mighty.

The former chief minister said “We need to protect lakes, but at the same time we have to protect the interests of those who have been cheated”.

The first stop of the panel members was Kempambudhikere, choked by sewage and encroachments. Yediyur lake in Padmanabhanagar Assembly constituency looks pristine, but officials in the Revenue department told the panel members that of the 18 acres of lake land, 10 acres and seven guntas have been encroached upon not only by private builders, but also BBMP, which has its ward office, roads, parks, playground on the tank bed. The water storage area of the lake has shrunk to eight acres.

At Arekere, BDA has taken up the development of the lake, but its extent of 34 acres, as mentioned in the revenue records, was nowhere to be seen. This prompted Kumaraswamy to complain that the survey had not been done properly. The panel members directed the Revenue officials to survey the lake land once again.

Residents panic in Dollars
The team’s visit to Dollars Colony, previously Lingannanakere or Doresanikere, triggered panic among the residents. Many high-profile people, including former BDA and BBMP commissioners Siddaiah and Shankarlinge Gowda, top bureaucrats reside here. The residents arranged a brief meeting with the panel. Siddaiah apprised them about various clearances sought by the BDA before forming the layout. The preliminary and final notifications to acquire 54 acres of lake land were issued in 1985 and 1995, respectively. In 2004, it was denotified. It is still a mystery how BDA decided to form a layout and from whom it acquired land after denotification.

(Published 20 May 2015, 04:59 IST)

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