Thursday, April 12, 2012

News Article: Another lake in Bangalore vanishes; official washes off his hands

Published: Monday, Apr 9, 2012, 11:02 IST
By Y Maheswara Reddy | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA

Philanthropist Narasimha Shastri would be turning in his grave for donating the eponymous lake in Bhoganahalli for providing drinking water for cattle and sheep. The five-acre lake, which is barren now, has been encroached by builders for private construction. The dilapidating compound wall is the only sign that there used to a lake.

BV Satish, the then chief engineer (now transferred to solid waste management department) of lakes, BBMP, is not even aware that the lake has been encroached. “Is Narasimha Shastri lake encroached? I am not aware of it. It would be better if you contact the chief engineer concerned. I have been shifted to solid waste management division,’’ he said, washing off his hands without any qualms.

When asked how come Parameswar, who assumed office as chief engineer, lakes, a month ago could be aware of the encroachment that happened during his tenure, Satish said: “I never visited that area and have no clue about the encroachment of the lake.’’

The residents of Bhoganahalli say the nexus between land mafia and BBMP authorities resulted in the disappearance of the lake. “I used to take our cattle to the lake during my childhood. There were two lakes near Bhoganahalli. Now, only one exists as Narasimha Shastri Lake has been encroached by land mafia,’’ said Pilla Reddy, a Congress leader.

In fact, the BBMP had prepared a plan to develop the lake at an estimated cost of Rs1.92 crore—Rs20.18 lakh for fencing as well as Rs6.06 lakh for maintenance and Rs4.04 lakh for watch and ward per year—and even allocated ID No. 2087. “The BBMP has forgotten about the existence of the lake after preparing the action plan. It did nothing when Bangalore Prime Properties encroached the land,” a villager said.

The residents say the BBMP and the Lake Development Authority (LDA) have no interest in preserving lakes in and around Bangalore. They say land mafia is active not only at Bhoganahalli but also in surrounding places. “The need of the hour is to protect lakes from land mafia. They are the lifeline for ground water and ensure increase of groundwater table. I advise the BBMP to impose a cess on land developers and use the same for the development of lakes,’’ said BV Ramachandra Reddy, former MLA.

S Shivaprasad, CEO of LDA, has however assured to send subordinates to inspect the spot. “I will be in a position to comment only after receiving the report from the LDA engineer,’’ he said.

KN Venkatesh, engineer, Bangalore Prime Properties, has denied any encroachment. “We have the necessary documents, including conversion of the land,’’ he said.

©2012 Diligent Media Corporation Ltd.

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