BDA biggest encroacher in Bengaluru

BDA biggest encroacher in Bengaluru

VANISHING LAKES: Assembly panel headed by Koliwad nails down encroachers

BDA biggest encroacher in Bengaluru

Encroachment of lakes is so rampant in Bengaluru Urban and Bengaluru Rural districts that only 166 of the total 1,545 lakes in the two districts are free from encroachments, according to documents released by the Legislative Assembly Committee on lake encroachments on Friday.

Besides, the Committee has identified 112 of the total 835 lakes in Bengaluru Urban as dead as they no longer exists. As many as 645 lakes are have been encroached upon.

Number of lakes that are free from encroachments is only 85. Of the total 710 lakes in Bengaluru Rural district, 70 lakes are dead, 559 are under encroachment and only 81 lakes are free of encroachments. Bengaluru north and Bengaluru north additional taluks in Bengaluru Urban district and Devanahalli and Hoskote taluks in Bengaluru Rural districts are the worst affected as far as the lake encroachment is concerned.

Besides encroachments by land sharks, the lakes have been encroached upon by various government agencies for forming layouts, construction offices, roads, schools and other utility services. Temples, slums and farms have also come up on lakes. The BDA is the biggest encroacher among the government agencies. The Authority has encroached upon 484 acres, covering 41 lakes as per the documents. It has used lakes like Neelasandra, Nagawara, Agara, Ebbaluru, Tavarakere, Thippasandra, Kattriguppe, Madiwala, Ullala and Lingarajapura for various purposes without following the procedure.

Addressing the media after releasing names of big builders and companies that have encroached upon lakes and survey sketches of encroached lakes, Committee chairman K B Koliwad said these lakes were being owned by the BBMP, BDA, Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) and Minor Irrigation department. But none of them had proper records of lakes and the extent of encroachments, he added.

The Committee, set up in October 2014, directed the Department of Survey Settlement and Land Records (DSSLR) to conduct a survey. About 200 surveyors undertook the task and completed it in about three months. Original lake boundaries were identified using old village maps. Information on actual extent of lake, encroached area, type of encroachment and names of the encroachers have been obtained as part of the survey.

The government can now easily establish lake boundaries and land grabbers cannot hoodwink people. The survey documents comprise over 7,000 pages, he said.

Asked whether the government would yield to the lobby of developers and builders and let off the encroachers, Koliwad said the officials were forced to clear encroachments on Sarakki, Jaraganahalli, Allasandra and Banaswadi lakes recently following the orders of the Karnataka High Court. When the Committee has established the encroachments, the Revenue authorities have no option but to take action to protect the lakes, he added.

Criminal action sought
He said action should be taken against the officials who had colluded with land sharks and helped them gobble up lake lands by creating fictitious documents. “No builder or developer can construct illegal buildings or form an illegal layout without the help of officials. How can a builder get building plan approved if the land is illegal? How can they get power and water connections?...This shows the officials were hand in glove with the encroachers. The Committee has directed the Revenue authorities to file criminal case against such officials,” he added.

Developers and companies under scanner
*Adarsh developers
*Prestige Group
*DS Max
*Sobha developers
*Brigade Group
*Oberoi Group
*RNS Motors
*Bagmane Tech Park
*Nisargadhama estates
*Nandini apartments
*Grass Hopper resorts
*Vandana Sagar apartments
*Advitha group
*Valmark group
*Greenwood group
*Pushpam developers
*R K Developers
*B R Valley Park
*Sri Ram apartments
*N D Developers
*Ishwarya Developers
*Oasis apartments
*Fantasy apartments
*Lake view apartments
*Mahalakshmi apartments
(Note: Names as released by the Assembly Committee)

Report on 19 lakes
The committee visited certain lakes in central Bengaluru. The report had made observations on 19 lakes. While it has expressed resentment over the manner in which the lakes have been neglected, a couple of lakes have been maintained well, it says. Details of some lakes and observations are as follows:

Yediyur Lake, Jayanagar:
The extent of Yediyur lake is 18 acres 2 guntas. Of this, 10 acres, 07 guntas have been encroached upon. Of the encroached area, 2 acres 30 guntas have been used for laying a road and constructing a community hall, while the rest have been taken over for house building.  A sum of Rs two crore has been set aside for rainwater harvesting but only Rs 12.82 lakh has been used.

Puttenahalli Lake/Sarakki Lake/Jaraganahalli Lake, JP Nagar
 Puttenahalli is a live lake spread across three villages - Sarakki, Jaraganahalli and Puttenahalli. The total area is 84 acres 22 guntas. As much as 31 acres have been encroached upon. Certain extent of encroachments has been removed as per the court order and another 12 acres 26 guntas still remains encroached upon. The committee has instructed officials to follow the court direction and not allow dumping of mud and discharge of effluents to the lake.

Chikkalasandra Lake, Uttarahalli: 
The committee when visited the spot did not see any lake. Officials informed that the entire lake has been encroached upon Ittamadu Lake, Ittamadu:
The entire Ittamadu lake is encroached upon and the total extent was 10 acres 23 guntas. Private layouts have come up here. The committee will take suitable decision in this regard.

Bellandur Lake, Yamalur
When the Assembly committee visited the lake, it was filled with froth. The lake is spread across three villages in 284 acres two guntas. The Revenue department has to conduct a survey to remove encroachments. None is managing this lake. Though the lake was entrusted to the BDA, it has not maintained it. Even the Lake Development Authority has not paid attention. The tank is in pitiable condition. The waterbody is highly contaminated due to discharge of effluents. Rajakaluves leading to the tank have clogged. BBMP has been directed to remove encroachments on the Kaluve and rebuild them. Later the issue would be discussed with the state pollution control board.

Doresanipalya Lake, JP Nagar
When the committee members visited the spot, Doresanipalya lake was “missing.” The entire lake now has layouts. The lake extended to 56 acres 37 guntas. BDA has allowed the ‘Change of Land Use’ and sites had been formed under the Dollar scheme. The lake was removed from the list in 1985 as per the Lakshman Rau report.

Arakere, Bannerghatta
The BDA is managing this live Arakere lake. It spreads over 37 acres 21 guntas of which seven acres and four guntas have been encroached upon. According officials, court has stayed clearance of encroachments. It has been estimated that Rs seven crore is required for restoring this lake of which Rs two crore had been spent till now. But the condition of lake gives room for doubts whether that much of money has been spent. There is lack of co-ordination between the revenue and BDA in removing the encroachments.

Dorekere, Uttarahalli:
Dorekere, a live lake, spreads over 28 acres 23 guntas. Rainwater is being harvested to improve water table. The survey shows that 14 guntas have been encroached upon. The Revenue department has to establish this fact. The committee is happy regarding the management of the lake.

Sankey Tank, Sadashivnagar:
The total extent of Sankey tank is 40 acres 24 guntas. Of these, one acre six guntas have been encroached upon and the matter is pending in court. In 1882, the tank water was used for drinking purpose and later the Maharajas were using this water for their plantations. In 2007, the Sankey Tank Walkers’ Association came into existence. BBMP, in 2003 spent Rs 3.48 crore for the improvement of the tank. Rainwater is being harvested in this live lake. The committee is happy the way the tank is managed.

(Note: The list of lakes and the condition published here is incomplete. The committee report has given details many more lakes.)