It's financially draining to maintain City lakes, says BDA

It's financially draining to maintain City lakes, says BDA

The Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) wants to be relieved of the task of developing and maintaining lakes in the City, as it is finding the exercise financially burdensome and the work impacting its land acquisition projects.

BDA Commissioner T Sham Bhat, in an interaction with Deccan Herald, said the Bangalore Development of Authority would like to focus on its core responsibilities of planning and development of the metropolis and gradually wean away from lake maintenance and development.

Bhat said: “The BDA has informed the government that development and maintenance of lakes is getting financially burdensome for the Authority. We have also said that the focus on lakes is impacting our land acquisition projects. As the cost of the former is going up, there is lesser resource available with us for land acquisition. Ultimately, the BDA may be left with very little resource to get on with land acquisition. The government is aware of the issue. No decision has been taken on anything as yet.”

When asked whether it would be a relief for the BDA to get the lake maintenance task off its shoulder, Bhat said: “I would not want to call it a relief. I would say we have core priorities we would like to stick to. We want an exclusive body that will deal with lake maintenance - that will take care of the lakes’ growth, spread, nourishment, development and protection. This will allow the BDA to sharpen its focus on planning and development of the City at a macro level.”

“So far, we have been taking the lakes from the Revenue department, developing them and passing them on to the BBMP. In a way, we have become a middle agency that is looking after the lakes. A single body looking after the lakes would be ideal and maintenance would be easier,” Bhat reasoned. The BDA’s major source of funding being the government itself, it would impact the agency to maintain the water bodies if the government decides on a budget cut. This would leave the Authority with lesser funding to take up lake maintenance.

Peripheral ring road
The BDA has the all-important task of commencing land acquisition for the Peripheral Ring Road project which would cost the civic agency Rs 8,100 crore, as the land acquired would have to be compensated as per the court orders, which have insisted on market rates of rehabilitation, sharing of developed land and transfer of development rights, to be followed by the government.

Once this process begins, the BDA would require all the financial resource that is possible to mobilise. Keeping in view this important need, the BDA is looking to cut costs in the non-core areas of its operations.

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