Sunday, August 14, 2011
News Article: Bangalore lakes to be cleared of encroachments
Published: Friday, Jul 8, 2011, 11:44 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA
Expressing serious concern over vanishing tanks and lakes in Bangalore, the high court on Thursday directed the government to clear encroachments on all tank and lake beds in and around the city.
The court also directed the government to provide rehabilitation to those who have been provided housing under the Ashraya scheme in these tank beds. The HC was hearing a petition filed by the Environment Support Group about the preservation, rejuvenation, encroachments and other issues pertaining to the lakes, questioning their privatisation.
The high court had on April 7 directed a committee to look into the privatisation of lakes to monitor the tasks like identification and removal of the unauthorised constructions around the lake beds in the city within three months and submit the report to the court.
It had formed a committee consisting of the commissioners of the BBMP and BDA, the KSPCB chairman the Lake Development Authority secretary and the chairman of the legal services committee, among others.
The panel submitted its progress report. It was taken on record by the court when the case came up for hearing before a division bench comprising chief justice JS Khehar and justice HG Ramesh.
The bench then observed that it was apparent from the report that there were 182 lakes or tanks in and around Bangalore that needed to be looked after and preserved.
“We are satisfied that the financial burden for the preservation of the lakes should be borne by the BDA, BBMP and state government in equal proportions. The state government shall provide separate budgetary allocation keeping in mind the amount earmarked by the BDA and BBMP for the ongoing works,” the court observed.
It further observed, “We are also informed that on some lakes or tank beds houses have been built by the state government under the Ashraya scheme. The houses have been allotted to the houseless and site-less individuals belonging to the lowest strata of the society, free of costs. It is clear that it should not have been done; it is wholly unauthorised.”
The court then directed the state government to provide alternative housing for such persons in a phased manner. The bench also requested the high-powered committee of the legal services committee to suggest parameters with regards to limits of commercial inroads in the matter of rejuvenation of lakes.
This would help in formulating a policy on public-private partnership and also fee to be charged on general public who want to enjoy the benefits of rejuvenation.
The committee is required to frame separate framework for PPP without commercial interest and also cases where it is solely based on commercial interest.
The bench then adjourned the case to October 12.