Monday, November 27, 2017


Niranjan Kaggere | Bangalore Mirror Bureau | Nov 23, 2017

Though it claims to be 'humanitarian' in its approach, the Joint House Committee report on lake encroachment in and around Bengaluru does not offer much reprieve to the affected people. Instead of putting to rest the fears of the public, who are knowingly or otherwise encroaching upon lakes, the recommendations in the report have left them facing the threat of 'losing' their properties.

The 10-members committee, headed by Speaker KB Koliwad, verified land records spanning more than 10,000 pages and concluded that over 10,000 acres of lake area has been encroached upon by land sharks. The committee makes separate recommendations on how to clear private and government encroachment.

The report suggests regularisation of encroachment by BDA and other government agencies by fixing a lake development tax, but it orders either complete demolition or takeover of the properties like flats, apartments and gated communities built by private builders and housing societies and allotment of the properties to the same people on an annual lease agreement. "In case of encroachment of lakes by private authorities, the structures (residential buildings) have to be razed, provided there is scope for rejuvenation of the lakes. If there is no scope for rejuvenation, then the government must declare such lakes as dead and take over the properties. The properties can then either be re-allotted among the existing inhabitants for an annual lease rate or be handed over to inhabitants in lieu of payment of one-time settlement fee," Koliwad said.

On commercial buildings, the report says, "If there is no scope for rejuvenation of lake, the government must either demolish the buildings or if demolition were to be considered of national waste, then the government must maintain those buildings." While the report suggested confiscation of properties of builders and officials responsible for encroachment, the report offers no clarity on who these officials are and who should initiate action against officers, who colluded with the land sharks.

"There are more than 5,000 encroachers and it is impossible to pinpoint each and every encroacher. As a committee, we are only submitting recommendations to the House and the government can take further action," Koliwad added in way of explanation.

The committee has also suggested abiding by the NGT ruling over the extent of buffer zones.

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