Lake land case: Upalokayukta for action on minister, officials

A report by Upalokayukta has recommended disciplinary action against revenue officials of Chikkaballapur for allotting a lake land for a medical college.

The report recommended the state government to immediately restore the lake in Anakanur village. The complaint stated that the Amani Gopalakrishna lake was the biggest lake in the district and that the district administration had allowed conversion of about 92 acres of lake land for various purposes, including construction of a medical college. In 2010, the administration transferred 70 acres of the lake land in exchange for 10 acres of land with the Horticulture Department and in February 2016 the administration granted the lake land for setting up of a medical college.

The Upalokayukta report stated that under section 14 of the Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Act, no structure can be built on lake land and no roads and bridges can be built within the lake area, including the tank bund.

The report further stated that the district in-charge minister convened a meeting along with officials and a decision was taken to construct the deputy commissioner's office. The then deputy commissioner also submitted a proposal for notification under Section 68 (1) of Karnataka Land Revenue Act in order to extinguish the rights of the public over the lake land, based on which the state government accorded permission also.

"Neither the government nor the DC have jurisdiction to extinguish the rights of the public in respect of a lake. It indicates that the secretary to the government, as well as the then DC, have acted beyond their jurisdiction and power. There are no records to show that the lake Authority has issued NoC to hand over the lake land to any department. This shows that the officials have acted contrary to the provision of the act and rules,'' the report stated.

The report recommended disciplinary action against the then secretary to government, undersecretary, DC, assistant commissioner, DDLR, tahsildar, revenue inspector and village accountant. It further recommended action against the then district in-charge minister since the lake area was diverted for other purposes at his instance.

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