BENGALURU: The BBMP got a rap on the knuckles for allegedly interpreting a National Green Tribunal (NGT) order to suit its convenience.
Taking serious exception, the NGT (Chennai bench) on Tuesday ordered the BBMP officials concerned to be present on Wednesday itself for the hearing, even if it means coming by flight. The tribunal warned that if officials fail to turn up to explain the circular, they may even face imprisonment.
The NGT, in its May 2016 judgment, had imposed a new buffer zone of 75 metres for lakes and wetlands where no construction will be allowed, as opposed to 30 metres of buffer zone earlier in Bengaluru.
But the BBMP, in a circular dated March 30 this year pertaining to encroachments on Bellandur Lake, said the NGT order does not apply to already approved or partially developed layouts and buildings. The circular was brought to the Tribunal’s notice by activists, highlighting the civic body’s dysfunctional governance with regard to the city’s lakes.
Taking exception to this interpretation, the NGT observed that the circular was trying to create “loopholes” for builders having lakeside projects.
The tribunal added that the BBMP circular had tried to interpret its buffer zone order of 75 metres in its own way. It was distressed with the language used in the circular and fumed at the counsel representing Karnataka asking, “By what authority have you clarified our judgement?”
The Tribunal also expressed serious concerns over the apathy of the officials regarding amount of the sewage being treated or dumped in Bengaluru’s water bodies.