BENGALURU: Chairman of the House Committee on Lake Encroachments, K B Koliwad said, the officials responsible for encroachment of lakes must be dismissed and not just suspended. “We will not spare anyone. Be it politicians, builders, officials or any one; if they are found to be involved in encroachment, action will be taken against them,” he told Express. “I am the Speaker of the Assembly and there is no one above me. No one can put pressure on me,” he added.
On Thursday, Koliwad committee visited various lakes and storm water drains, where severe floods were reported after the recent rainfall.
Are officials involved in encroachments?
Of course. Officials are the main reason for encroachments. No builder or landgrabber can do it on their own. We need to check on this. If found guilty, they should be dismissed from their job. If suspended, they know how to come back.
There are 1,923 encroachments on SWD, says BBMP.
BBMP officials have submitted a report to CM Siddaramiah on Wednesday, which said, of 1,923 encroachments, 822 are removed. I have not got the report yet. Not sure about encroachment removal, there could be huts. We need to verify.
What if politicians are involved?
Irrespective of party, if politicians are involved, they will not be spared. I don’t care which party they belong to, I am interested in public welfare.
I have called a meeting on August 11. Officials should get all details on encroachment of lakes and storm water drains. I also asked them to get list of encroachers and area and location they encroached. The Chief Minister is also keen on nabbing those involved. I have also sought details about the number of cases pending before courts on land encroachment. I will take help from Advocate General.
When is your committee submitting the final report?
Our report was almost ready. Now that the National Green Tribunal has asked for buffer-zone criteria, we are working on it. We are expecting to complete it within a month or two.
Do you think the committee has a free hand?
The committee has been constituted with a specific purpose and is given a free hand. We can recommend and direct officials to take action. We will not allow anyone to overpower us.
AC behind removal of encroachments transferred
Assistant Commissioner with Bengaluru Urban DC, L C Nagaraj, the man behind many encroachment removals in Bengaluru South, was transferred on Friday. He has been posted to Raichur distruct. The order raises brows as Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had on Wednesday directed officials concerned not to spare any encroachments, including those on lakes and storm water drains. Sources from Bengaluru Urban DC office said Nagaraj had initiated the task to preserve 63 acres of government land at Pantarapalya and Doddabele worth close to `1,800 crore. “Big people are involved in this, they could be the reason for his transfer,” sources said.
BBMP to take up clearance from today
The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) authorities, along with BMTF, local police and revenue officials, will start clearing encroachments in eight zones simultaneously starting Saturday, said BBMP Commissioner Manjunath Prasad. He told Express they had identified 1,923 encroachments of which 822 are cleared.