Bengaluru has considerably lost its lung space in the last few years due to rapid urbanisation. While it seems like the state government is on a mission to wipe out what is remaining of the green space by passing the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act 2016, governor Vajubhai Vala has put the brakes on it.
Giving a fillip to urban ecological movement and ensuring safety of green and open spaces, the governor on Tuesday returned the Bill to the government.
Touted to be the ambitious Bill of the state government, it was passed without a discussion when the state legislature was in pandemonium over the suicide of DySP MK Ganapathi in August. Opposition BJP and several environmental activists had vehemently opposed the Bill, calling it the handiwork of powerful real estate lobby and appealed to the governor not to give his assent. Several noted environmentalists had expressed to the governor that, if enacted, the Bill would take away the long-standing green and open spaces in urban localities.
Expressing his happiness over the governor’s action, Opposition leader Jagadish Shettar told media that the government was playing to the demands of the real estate lobby in urban localities by bringing out the Bill. “When all of us (opposition parties) were in the well, demanding Bengaluru in-charge minister George’s resignation, the government passed it in a hush-hush manner without any discussion. It was intended to benefit the real estate lobby of the urban areas. I had even appealed to the governor in the interest of urban green spaces. Convinced about its ill effects, the governor too has rejected it,” Shettar revealed.
The Bill, if enacted, would have severely hit 250 cities and towns across Karnataka, according to Shettar. “The Bill proposed to reduce the spaces reserved for parks and playgrounds, from the existing 15 per cent to 10 per cent, and civic amenity sites from 10 per cent to just 5 per cent. It was turning out to be an ecological disaster for the urban community. Considering the rising pollution levels, increasing temperature, flash floods in urban areas, green and open spaces are already not enough. It is ironic that the government, which should create more such lung spaces, has yielded to the demands of the real estate lobby,” Shettar lamented.
A senior environmentalist, who didn’t want to be named, said: “This amendment would have been a perfect recipe for disaster. We have already seen how several multi-storeyed buildings have openly flouted rules pertaining to green and open spaces. Rather than enforcing stringent action, it was sad that the government was pushing for this amendment.”
Sources in the Raj Bhavan revealed to media that the governor has returned the Bill for reconsideration suggesting that it will cause greater damage to the environment.
Credits Bangalore Mirror