Structures on live SWDs will be affected: Jayachandra

Putting an end to the confusion around the government’s ongoing demolition drive across Bengaluru, minor irrigation and law minister TB Jayachandra on Wednesday clarified that only those structures that encroach upon live storm water drains (SWDs) will be affected.
“The demolition drive is based on the directive issued by the Karnataka High Court’s Divisional Bench while hearing over a writ petition in 2011. No one will be spared and all encroachments will be cleared as per the court’s order. The Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), town planning department and the revenue department will collectively clear out all the encroachments across Bengaluru. Only encroachments along the live SWDs will be targeted,” the minister briefed soon after the state cabinet meeting at the Vidhana Soudha.
Jayachandra clarified that the National Green Tribunal’s verdict on buffer zones for water bodies is only applicable to Bengaluru city. The state government was considering approaching the Supreme Court over the NGT verdict, he added.
Referring to a major violation by Prestige Group in Challaghatta valley, Jayachandra said: “It was brought to our notice that a 150-feet-wide SWD was reduced to a mere 10 ft. Prestige Developers have come up with a huge apartment complex, and I have directed the BBMP commissioner to demolish the structure.”
There have been reports of officials marking properties that are not encroaching upon SWDs, and extorting money out of panic-stricken house owners. “I would like to clarify that structures that are not encroaching upon SWDs will not be touched,” he said.
According to the minister, so far 141 b have been razed and a total of 29.8 acres have been recovered.
Light Rail Transit System
In view of the worsening traffic situation across Bengaluru, the state cabinet is looking at initiatives proposed by the Urban Development Department. For one such idea, the state cabinet on Wednesday, gave in-principle approval to 42 km of long Light Rail Transit System (LRTS).
“Funding is the major issue that needs to be tackled and, so, the cabinet has directed the urban development department to look into the possibility of setting up a reserve fund through which the expenses can be met,” Jayachandra explained.
Aerospace Policy
With a view to attract huge investments in the aerospace sector, the state cabinet gave its consent to make changes to the existing Aerospace Policy 2013-23. The changes are likely to spur the growth of ancillary industries, thus, helping the IT city to retain the tag of being the aviation hub of the country.
“The government will extend incentives and concessions (currently enjoyed by other industries) to the aerospace sector too. Besides, there will be a separate policy to boost employment in the aviation sector and it will be rolled out soon. We are proud that the country’s 40 per cent of aviation equipment is manufactured in Karnataka and the government wants to support the creation of huge manpower for the industry,” the minister said. The cabinet also approved to make amendment to the industrial policy facilitating setting up of pharma industries in Karnataka.
Which building are you talking about?: Prestige
Talking about the case in question, Irfan Razack, CMD of Prestige Group, said: “We are completely unaware of which building is being referred to. We are always open to getting ourselves scrutinised and audited at any point in time. We move forward with the assurance that our stand will be vindicated and we will come out clean as always.”

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