'Lake revival sans idea of boundary futile'

'Lake revival sans idea of boundary futile'

Bubbling Bellandur: 250 acres encroached upon, SWDs have shrunk, say activists

'Lake revival sans idea of boundary futile'

Work has been initiated for the revival of Bellandur lake, but without even knowing its actual boundary.
Revenue records show the lake was spread over more than 1,000 acres, whereas about 250 acres has been encroached upon. Thus, the lake area is reduced to about 750 acres. The stormwater drains at the waste weir of the lake at Amanikere Kodi have also shrunk drastically.

Following public outcry against the rampant encroachment of lakes, the Assembly committee on lake encroachment headed by Speaker K B Koliwad was constituted. The revenue officers of Bengaluru district said unless the Koliwad committee submits its report to the government and the latter, in turn, gives the revenue department a clear-cut direction, the demarcation of boundary of Bellandur lake will not take place.

“There are encroachments of Bellandur lake and most of them are residential buildings. We are waiting for directions as we cannot arbitrarily go on a demolition spree,” said a revenue officer. The deputy commissioner of Bengaluru Urban district V Shankar was not available for comments.

Lake protection groups too raised concerns over the revival of the lake without demarcation of boundaries. Vijayan Menon, urban expert and member of the Citizens’ Action Forum, which is a petitioner in the Bellandur lake case, questioned the effort when survey has not been done.

“The revenue department says it has surveyed the lake, but the survey sketch has neither been notified nor the lake boundary has been demarcated,” said Menon.

Survey report with panel
Activist Sridhar Pabbisetty said the survey report was with the Koliwad committee. Unless the committee gives direction to the revenue department, it is unlikely that the encroachment will be removed. He said physical demarcation of the lake boundary was a must. Pabbisetty claimed that the encroachment of the lake was rampant. The stormwater drain after the Ammanikere Kodi (waste weir) has not only shrunk, but it has been diverted, he said.

Pabbisetty said, “Our demand to the government is that the BDA (Bangalore Development Authority) and KLCDA (Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Authority) fix the boundary of the lake. Without identification of the boundary, the lake revival is an eyewash. If the government does not act now, we will bring this fact to the notice of the National Green Tribunal in the next hearing.”

Decision soon: Koliwad
When contacted, Koliwad said he had a meeting with the officers of various government departments with regard to rejuvenating Bellandur lake. He said a decision regarding the demarcation of the boundary of the lake would be taken shortly.