BBMP’s bulldozers were out in full force clearing up 1 km of SWD; FIRs registered against developers; officials who sanctioned encroachments will be punished, says BBMP chief

For the residents of Avani Sringeri Layout in Nyanappanahalli, Shubh Enclave near Kasavanahalli and a small pocket in Yelahanka, the roar of JCBs heralded the weekend. By 10 am on Saturday, a BBMP-BMTF planned demolition drive had begun and the starting point was Avani Sringeri Layout where properties built upon the storm water drain (SWD, or raja kaluve) alignment were identified and marked for demolition.

A few minutes after the drive began at this layout, two properties were razed. The entry of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike commissioner N Manjunath Prasad to the spot brought some relief. Earlier, about nine properties here had been identified for demolition as they stood in the way of the SWD corridor, about 2.5 m wide. But after bringing down the first two properties belonging to poorer families, the commissioner was persuaded by other residents not to cut into their homes but move the drains to the rear portion of the building.

They also sought time and permission to demolish the rear portions of their homes so that the remaining area could be saved and rebuilt, to which the BBMP commissioner agreed before leaving the spot.

Among those who lost their property was an elderly couple — Pradeep Rao and Usha, who own a tea shop. “We were informed late on Friday that our house will be demolished. In the morning, around 50 policemen along with JCBs came to the spot and without giving us any time, started demolishing our building. We could not even move our belongings. After an hour, the officials changed the drain alignment and spared the other properties. Why this discrimination,” asked Usha.

Avani Sringeri Layout, near Begur-Hulimavu road, was formed in the early 90s and the properties were built with permission from the erstwhile BMP. After last week’s rain and flooding, the authorities who did a survey of the drains discovered that a 2.5 m wide SWD once existed here.

“Inquiries revealed that a layout developer, Satyanarayana, was responsible for the private layouts in the area, and had conned property owners into buying sites on the drains. We will also track down officials who gave sanctions back then and make them culpable. Action will be initiated against both,” said Manjunath Prasad.

In Shubh Enclave, off Sarjapur Road, 19 buildings were marked for demolition. On Saturday, four palatial bungalows were razed — three partially and one fully. Here, nearly 14 m of two SWDs connecting Kasavanahalli to Kaikondanahalli lake were encroached upon.

The 70x120ft bungalow that was demolished belonged to software engineer Mahendra Kumar, who had been living there since 2014. He had bought the site in 2005.

“At the time of construction, some surveyors had come to inform me that there was a drain network on the side. They identified about 12 ft for it at the back of the house. I left that space. Today, all of a sudden, they came and claimed the SWD alignment ran in the middle of my house and razed it down,” said Kumar.

Two buildings were brought down in Yelahanka, built along the Shivanahalli drain.

Bangalore Metropolitan Task Force (BMTF) chief and ADGP T Suneel Kumar and superintendent of police D Devaraj monitored the operations. The task force registered three FIRs against Shubh Enclave developer Satish Reddy, developer of Jhanavi Paradise, near Akshaynagar and Satyanarayana and Samiullah, developers of Avani Sringeri Layout.

Overall, by Saturday evening, 32 properties, including 19 buildings (mostly residential units) were demolished, clearing up a km-long stretch that was 8 ft wide.

The demolition drive will continue and will open up nearly 2 km of encroached SWD. About 3,000 residential units, falling along this corridor to the Madivala lake have been marked for demolition.

64 properties were fully/partially demolished in Bengaluru on Saturday: 32 in Avani Sringeri Layout, Kasavanahalli and Yelahanka. In Bommanahalli, 9 buildings and 8 sites (compounds); In Mahadevpura, 4 buildings, 6 sites; In Yelahanka, 2 buildings, 3 sites.

1 km of encroachments over storm water drains were cleared up. Here’s how it all began

At 10 am, the demolition squad of BBMP and BMTF descends on Avani Sringeri Layout. On the hit list are nine buildings constructed in the middle of the SWD corridor. Two properties are demolished while the remaining get respite after residents request BBMP commissioner to change drain alignment

At Shubh Enclave, off Sarjapur Road, 4 palatial bungalows are razed – 3 partially, one fully. These houses were built on nearly half an acre each.

3 FIRs registered by BMTF against apartment builder and layout developer, holding BBMP engineers/sanctioning authority responsible

Demolition to continue to clear encroachments up to 2 km till Madivala lake, which will claim nearly 3,000 residential units.