BENGALURU: The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and BMTF personnel, along with the police and revenue officials, demolished several houses in three zones on Saturday as part of their drive to remove encroachments on storm water drains. The drive is expected to continue for a week.
On day one, officials cleared encroachments from more than 32 locations — Bommanahalli, Mahadevapura and Yelahanka zones.
Soon after the operations began in the morning, some were seen arguing with officials. Many just looked on helplessly as the earthmovers razed their houses.
On Wednesday, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah directed officials not to spare any encroaching body. He conducted a review meeting after the city witnessed flooding 10 days ago.
Almost a decade back, Bommanahalli, Mahadevapura, Yelahanka, Dasarahalli and Rajarajeshwarinagar came under the City Municipal Councils (CMCs). “Land was available in these areas at throwaway prices. Builders started procuring land and constructed apartment complexes, encroaching upon storm water drains. Since these areas came under CMCs, nothing much was done.
“In 2007, these areas became part of BBMP and since then land prices started shooting up. Over the years, these areas became densely populated with buidlings encroaching upon storm water drains,” said a BBMP official.
Bommanahalli Zonal Commissioner Muniraju said 17 properties, including buildings and vacant sites, were identified as those encroaching on storm water drains at Avani Sringeri near Akshaynagar. “These have come up on a 800-metre stretch,” he said. “We faced public wrath, but we could take up the drive with help from the BMTF, police,” he said.
Zonal Commissioner Muniveerappa M said they have identified 110m of encroachments from Kasavanahalli Lake to Kaikondanahalli Lake. “There are six properties, mostly buildings, which will be demolished partially. It will take two to three working days. Once it is done, we will construct drains. With no drains, it used to flood during monsoon,” he said. However, they did not face any resistance. “Next we will take up Horamavu area for removal of encroachments,” he said.
Zonal Commissioner Sarfaraz Khan said they have taken up one stretch from Yelahanka to Jakkur where apartments and smaller constructions have come up on storm water drains. “As many as 40 locations have been identified in Yelahanka. We will continue our drive on Sunday. We shall take up similar work at Vidyaranyapura, Ramachandrapura,” he said.