LAKE VIEWS – DEMOLITION MAN WILL BE IN ACTION – AFTER THE GOVERNMENT APPROACHES THE SUPREME COURT TO BENEFIT THE BUILDERS MAFIA – THE SUPREME COURT MIGHT ORDER DEMOLITION OF PROPERTIES
A NEWS REPORT
National Green Tribunal ordering demolition of encroachments on lakes in city, the fear of demolition looms large over properties built on encroached land; over 2,000 acres of lake land have been eaten into
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) verdict on the enhancement of buffer zones around lakes has left the government and builders more than just a little jittery. While one is dreading consequences, the other is wondering how to go about with the implementation of the order.
As revealed by the State Legislature appointed House committee, a whopping 2,023.04 acres around lakes and waterbodies have been encroached upon by private parties. The fear of demolition is now looming large over these properties.
A day after the verdict, the state government too appeared to be in a fix as it may now have to plan out the herculean task of ‘razing such illegal structures’.
Even though the NGT’s verdict was primarily in the case pertaining to the encroachment of wetlands by builders, the enhancement of the buffer zone measurement around lakes and rajakaluves applies to all major water bodies and lakes in and around Bengaluru.
Govt is waiting
Reacting to the NGT order, Bengaluru development and town planning minister KJ George said: “The government is aware of NGT’s landmark judgement. We are committed to protecting lakes and water bodies as they are intrinsic to Bengaluru. However, the government is yet to receive a copy of the order. Only after going through the order can we enforce it.”
Asked whether the government will direct the district administration to raze down all illegal structures falling within 75 metres of lakes and water bodies, the minister’s response was the same: need time to go through the order.
“The administration has been acting against encroachers. The eviction drive will continue,” said George.
The petitioners who had appealed before the NGT were clear about pursuing the case till all the corrupt officials who had colluded with builders to kill the lakes were brought to book. There was already unrest in the bureaucratic circles over the determined follow through on the case.
Is it Actionable?
With the NGT’s order sounding the death knell for hundreds of properties in and around Bengaluru, the state government too is in a fix over the implementation of the order. The government is mulling alternatives including appealing against the verdict, considering the livelihood of hundreds of citizens were at stake.
“NGT’s observation and direction has been reported by all today. As soon as we get an order copy, we will consult legal experts and seek the advocate general’s opinion about the points raised by the NGT. Further action based on the NGT ruling will be decided only after obtaining legal opinion of experts,” said George.
Lakeview and lakeside are some of the words with which builders lure in the city’s wealthy to their projects around the water bodies. However, with the NGT’s verdict redefining the buffer zone length, uncertainty now prevailed over such projects.
The ambitious luxury segment housing project on the banks of Sankey Tank too would be hit with the order.(Another Mantri Project in Doldrums along with Rachenahally and Thanisandra projects, which are under the Justice Kempanna Commission – Enquiry Committee and Raja Kaluve encroachment on Kanakapura Road – already in the High Court)
Several group housing projects had come up over the last couple of decades around Sarakki Lake, Banaswadi Lake, Jakkur Lake, Allalasandra Lake, Bellandur Lake, Puttenahalli Lake and Kaikondrahalli Lake. In fact, a house committee of the State Legislature that is probing the encroachment issue under the leadership of Congress MLA KB Koliwad revealed that a whopping 2,023.04 acres in and around Bengaluru were encroached upon by private builders and developers for various housing and commercial projects.