Seize assets of builders who have encroached lakes in Bengaluru: House panel
The Legislative Committee that investigated the state of lakes in Bengaluru has recommended confiscation of the property of those builders and developers who have encroached lakes in the city. An 11-member committee chaired by KB Koliwad, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, submitted its much-awaited report in the ongoing legislative session in Belagavi on Tuesday.
In its list of recommendations for the protection of dying lakes in Bengaluru, the Koliwad Committee proposed action against the builders, officials and citizens who have bought houses/complexes on encroached lake property. The committee has estimated over 11,000 acres of lake having been encroached over the past few decades.
The state formed the Koliwad committee in 2015 to study encroachment and suggest remedial action. After extensive survey and inspections, the committee released an interim report in January 2016. It allowed an opportunity for those encroaching lake lands to submit their objections and grievances in accordance with the principle of natural justice. The final report was prepared based on the responses to the interim report.
In a strict ultimatum, the committee has recommended legal action against builders who have flouted rules to encroach lakes and lake beds and asked the government to confiscate the property of such builders.
The committee also recommended setting up of a Land Grab Court to handle lake encroachment cases. “The cases that are pending before civil courts too should be transferred to the Land Grab Court,” it said.
Welcoming the recommendations, Prof TV Ramachandra of the Indian Institute of Science said that it is high time lake encroachments were cleared and the city’s lakes rejuvenated. “Now that the Koliwad Committee has made the encroachment issue official, the government should implement the recommendations in true spirit. It should not be a repeat of storm water drain encroachment eviction, where only the small encroachers were evicted and the big ones let off. Strict action should be taken against encroachers which is the first step towards protecting the lakes,” he said.
He also urged the authorities to clear SWD encroachments, prevent industries from letting untreated effluents into the lakes, initiate action against erring industries and maintain buffer zone rules.