BENGALURU:In July 2013, the Mestripalya lake in Koramangala got a lease of life when, thanks to the efforts of residents in the area, development work on it began.
Twenty months later, however, there is little progress in the work. Members of the Resident Welfare Association brought the issue to District in-charge Minister Ramalinga Reddy’s notice while he was reviewing the progress of the project and interacting with the residents. The minister has instructed officials to ensure that the work is completed by the third week of April, ahead of monsoon.
Reddy said, “The civil work will be completed by the end of the month and the government has allotted an additional `8 crore for beautification of the lake. The officials will work closely with the citizens to finalise plans for further development.”
MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar said the story of the lake was a perfect example of how citizens and government can come together to protect a lake from land sharks.
In the early 1980s, the government had acquired vast tracts of land in Koramangala, including the Mestripalya Lake which was a public tank. Occupying at least 17 acres, the lake was a part of about 300 acres acquired by the government to develop what is now Koramangala Layout. Residential areas and roads had come up near the tank blocking the water flow.
The land is now under litigation, but the case started when the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) attempted to obtain 6.2 acres to form a layout and allot sites to six legislators. The move was challenged in the Supreme Court. However, the verdict was in favour of the BDA.
In 2005, residents filed a petition in the High Court against the BDA’s move to allot 6.2 acres. The petitioners wanted the land to be converted into a park or a playground.
When the lake was subsequently encroached upon, the Koramangala RWAs moved the Supreme Court over the issue. The apex court ruled that the BDA would be the land owner and said that the land must be protected as an open space and developed as a lake.