BENGALURU: THERE are no two ways about the fact that blatant flouting of rules and encroachment of storm water drains (SWD) have been the key reason for the flooding in many parts of the city.
If one goes by Mayor B N Manjunath Reddy’s words, they will not only work on getting the encroachments cleared, but will also come down heavily on officers who are responsible for allowing such activities.
“Our first priority is to bring back normalcy in the lives of affected people. And once people are rehabilitated, we will surely take strict action against the officials who were granting such permissions for various construction,” Manjunath said.
“In the core city areas, we have cleared almost all encroachments. It is in the TMC and CMC areas where there are huge number of buildings on lake beds that encroachment persists. The issue is most of them have got stay orders from the court. We have done a survey and taken video of these areas during the flooding and we will submit these to the court so that we can remove the encroachments.”
Voicing similar opinion, Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy said, “Clearing encroachments will be our top priority. Apart from desilting and completion of remaining drain work, we will have to create additional Storm Water Drains as, in case of excessive rain like the recent one, existing SWDs are not enough.”
Early this year, the Lake Bed Encroachment Committee, a panel by Karnataka legislature, revealed that a third of Bengaluru lakes have been encroached upon by the Bangalore Development Agency, one of the primary agencies working for the improvement of city infrastructure. Two-thirds have been encroached by private builders and developers, who have built massive offices for multinationals.
It also found that 11,000 acres of 1,545 lakes in both Bengaluru Urban and Rural districts were encroached. Thus, Madiwala lake, Bellandur Lake, Varthur Lake among others have all fallen prey to encroachment.