BENGALURU: Last month, the BBMP demolished several properties and evicted poor families in Vidyaranyapura, north Bengaluru, citing encroachment of storm water drains (SWDs) linked to Doddabommasandra lake.
But the civic body and Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Authority (KLCDA) spared encroachments on the southeast part of Doddabommasandra lake. The encroached section of the lake has not even been fenced, unlike other parts. Several residences stand on the encroached area, and a huge apartment complex is springing up in the middle of the marshy lake. Incidentally, the water body is also being rejuvenated.
Madhuri Subbarao, resident and co-founder of Vidyaranyapura -The Original Forum, told media: “The NGT’s buffer zone rule has gone for a toss in this area. Ward officials are aware of the truth behind the rejuvenation of Doddabommasandra lake. The encroachments are spared and the encroached section looks like a dying lake-bed.”
With Doddabommasandra lake up for rejuvenation, BBMP and KLCDA have already fenced the waterbody, leaving the southeast part where many houses are built. The DPR for rejuvenation, a copy of which is with media, admits the catchment is fully developed on all sides with residential and other settlements.
Sridhar Pabbisetty, CEO of Namma Bengaluru Foundation and resident of Vidyaranyapura, hinted that various lobbies are working to destroy the lake and its catchment areas and completely violate the buffer zone regulations. “The primary question that needs to be asked is whether there is a DPR for rejuvenating the lake and where is that report? Definitely not in the public realm. Also, the BBMP needs to answer whether they are going to remove these encroachments and rejuvenate the lake as a part of its plan, or leave them as they are. Even now, when BBMP is mapping encroachments on SWDs and lake-beds, has it included this area in the map? Anyone who comes here can smell something fishy.”
For two days, both Madhuri and Sridhar were trying to call the higher ups in BBMP to stop dumping debris on the lakebed. It had not stopped till Saturday afternoon, said Madhuri. “We haven’t carried out any fresh demolitions yet. Markings are going on for the lake as well. Once the markings are complete, we will start demolition,” said a jurisdictional BBMP official. The BBMP chief engineer for lakes did not respond to calls.
Doddabommasandra lake, spread over 50 hectares, is one of the three lakes in a chain that forms in the Hebbal valley and has been dying due to urbanization, the DPR has said. About 70% of it is covered with hyacinth, and garbage, and sewage inflow has killed Doddabommasandra lake, it added.
The rejuvenation plans include building parks, walkways, open gyms and a sewage treatment plant. The cost is estimated at Rs 4.36 crore, as per the DPR.
Inspection likely this week
I am yet to visit this lake. Probably this week, I will go for an inspection. But if the buildings are coming up outside the lake’s fence, we can’t question the construction. The laws are very strict now, and if we find these constructions have encroached upon the lake, we will take stern action. Jagganath Rao, BBMP’s deputy conservator of forests in charge of lakes.
credits ET Realty