Monday, July 30, 2018

Lokayukta Asks for Plan to Remove Lake Encroachments in Rural Areas

Yathiraju | The New Indian Express | 20 June 2018

Bengaluru : Observing that no department can shun responsibility of protecting lakes by pointing fingers at other departments, Karnataka Lokayukta Justice P Vishwanatha Shetty said that it is the joint responsibility of Departments of Minor Irrigation and Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) to preserve the lakes in four taluks of Bengaluru Rural District.

In a recent order, Shetty said that of 611 lakes in Bengaluru Rural District, 537 were encroached upon. The total extent of encroachment is 3,668.4 acres. After removal of some encroachment, still 3,320 acres of land is still under unauthorised occupation by large number of people. The said land is required to be utilised by the state for the welfare of the people and no member of the public can be allowed to continue unauthorised occupation or possession of the government property, he said.

He also stated that it has come to his notice that the total value of 3,320 acres would be around `12,000 to `15,000 crores. For the purpose of digging trenches and installation of boundary stones, at least a sum of `10.39 crore is required. “The tanks are under RDPR and the financial control is with the Minor Irrigation Department. Unless necessary funds of `10.59 crs are released, the concerned authorities who are entrusted with the responsibility of removing encroachment will not be able to show substantial progress in the matter of protecting lakes,” he said.

Justice Shetty also explained that the development of tanks/lakes would improve the ground level water and help the rural populace. “Therefore, it is the duty of the RDPR and Minor Irrigation Department, without any further delay, to take effective steps for removal of the unauthorised encroachers from the government property. However, that cannot be done without necessary financial support extended by the concerned department of the state to meet the expenditure,” he said.

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