Now, get ready to cough up lake view, maintenance tax

Now, get ready to cough up  lake view, maintenance tax

Soon, those staying in apartments around lakes and enjoying the water bodies’ view may have to pay a lake view and maintenance tax.

The proposal by the Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Authority (KLCDA) will be placed before the state government for approval soon. This tax will not be limited to apartments alone, but even to commercial complexes. It will be apart from the lake cess, which builders have to pay while undertaking any construction.  “We are planning to make people pay either by way of money or become registered lake wardens or adopt a portion of the lake to protect and maintain it. This needs to be done as unless people take responsibility, the lakes will not be protected,” G Vidyasagar, KLCDA chief executive officer told DH.

Lake maintenance tax can be imposed under the KLCDA Act, Vidyasagar added.
“The idea was mooted while the KLCDA started creating the Madiwala Biodiversity Park. But the idea gained momentum after we learnt that garbage and sewage were the biggest polluters of lakes.

It has also been observed that people are keen on enjoying the scenic view of the lakes, but do not want to take ownership in keeping it clean and maintaining it. Some resident welfare associations have adopted lakes, like Puttenahalli lake in J P Nagar. Unless citizens are involved and made to pay, lake conservation and protection will remain the onus of the government departments only.

People will continue to litter and government will continue to clean,” noted another KLCDA official.

Some officials in the urban development department (UDD) back the proposal and are keen to implement it at the earliest.

The proposal has gained momentum especially after the officials faced the wrath of the National Green Tribunal over the pathetic condition of Bellandur and Varthur lakes.

Wetland and lake experts from Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore  and Delhi University too back the proposal stating that the idea is good and is similar to polluter-pays principle and recreation cess.

Citing the example of Bellandur lake, a UDD official said: “Sewage from apartments and homes near the lake has been the major cause of lake pollution. Not to forget industrial pollution. So, apart from penalising people, it will be better if they are made to pay for maintenance also as it is the mindset of people that we value only those things that we pay for.”

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