A month after the state government announced that dead lakes in the city will be denotified, there is a sudden spurt in encroachment of lakes in the city.
At least four prominent lakes besides and many small lakes are facing a threat from the land grabbers. At Sarakki lake, spread across 84 acres near JP Nagar, many trucks are unloading debris into the lake. Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike is unable to stop the dumping.
A Palike engineer said, “We are constructing a fence around the lake but illegal dumping is rampant. We warned them many times. We sought police protection too but they did not respond.”
At Varthur, dumping was happening right in the presence of Hoysala van.
A resident, requesting anonymity, said, “A lot of fresh dumping is taking place inside the fence. A police van was present when dumping was happening. It gives an indication that this illegality has got police protection too.”
In Kaggadasapura lake, the BBMP project division is illegally building a road on the lake despite BBMP’s lake division objecting to it.
Anand, a resident of Kaggadasapura said, “We have the lake division’s letter where it is objecting to the project division’s plans to build a road. When we confronted the contractor assigned by the BBMP’s project division, we were threatened by public representatives.”
At Dodda Bommasandra lake too in Vidyaranyapura, the Palike is building a road cutting through the lake with the government’s Nagarotthana funds. Kshitij Urs of People’s Campaign for Right to Water blames the state government for the sudden increase in grabbing lake land.
“By announcing that dead lakes will be denotified, the government sent a signal to land sharks that lake land can be grabbed. Our fears are now coming true. Forget seeking suggestions whether to proceed, the state government did not show the courtesy to intimate the KLCDA about the decision,” said Urs.
United Bengaluru convener N R Suresh said the government announced denotification of lakes fearing public movement to protect water bodies.”Such an announcement is mischievous. To damage the water bodies further, the government ordered handing over lakes to the minor irrigation department. It ignored the successive government orders that say that the protection of water bodies is the sole responsibility of urban local bodies. Minor irrigation department is one such area where your voice is never heard,” said Suresh.
He warned that in the coming days, Namma Bengaluru Foundation and United Bengaluru will bring this mischief to the notice of the NGT.