KLCDA wants lakes to come under Wetlands Rules, state govt wary

KLCDA wants lakes to come under Wetlands Rules, state govt wary

The urban development department has expressed reservations on the Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Authority’s (KLCDA) proposal to bring 176 live lakes of Bengaluru under the Wetlands Rules, 2010.

A senior KLCDA official said they were implementing the Supreme Court’s orders and directions of the Ministry of Environment and Forests. The apex court in February had directed the Union government to bring over two lakh wetlands across India under its ambit.

“We want all city’s lakes to be a part of this wetlands list before they are encroached upon and lost. This is the reason why we had sought the opinion of various custodians of city lakes. Except the UDD and some politicians, others are backing us,’’ a KLCDA official told Deccan Herald.

Chief Secretary Subhash Kuntia too has sought a clarification on the lake boundaries before taking the proposal any further.

Lake custodians include Bangalore Development Authority, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, Revenue and the Forest Department.

After going through the draft report submitted by KLCDA, the UDD and some political leaders have been demanding to see the wetland boundaries. KLCDA has thus sought a detailed report from the custodians at the earliest so that there is no scope for disagreement, he said.

The officer explained that according to Wetlands Rules, a wetland boundary is the mean of the last 10 years when the water level was the maximum. Once the boundary is defined and the proposal is accepted by the MoEF, then the state government cannot change the lake’s land use.

Even for improvement of the boundary or minor alterations, the Centre’s permission will be mandatory. At present, lakes are protected as per the KLCDA Act, which the state can repeal.

According to KLCDA records, there are 210 lakes in the city, of which 19 are in disuse and 15 are smaller than the prescribed format. The apex court has proposed to include water bodies whose area is 2.25 hectares and above under the Wetlands Rules. In parallel, KLCDA is also working on water bodies in other districts.

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