BENGALURU: The ongoing demolition drive by Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), which is among the biggest in the recent years, has raised several questions on the functioning of civic agencies or the lack of it.
Activists, who maintain that such drives are essential, also say that only the middle class and low-income families are usually the victims.
Express spoke to experts to ascertain the cause of inundation and the role civic agencies must play to prevent it. Kavita Reddy, activist and member of HSR Residents’ Welfare Association, said that it is necessary to clear all encroachments as it has become ‘chronic’ in areas such as Bommanahalli. “Unless you send a strong message, people will continue to violate the norms,” she said.
Though BBMP is always blamed when such incidents occur, she said that it is not always the agency’s fault. “The BBMP, BDA and the Revenue Department should synchronise their records to stop encroachments,” she said.
To a question on whether big builders are let scot-free despite encroachments, she said that it is true to “some extent”.
Quoting examples, she said that such builders can afford to take their cases to court. “In one case, a court ruled in favour of a big builder who ensured that the stormwater drain he had encroached upon was realigned,” she said.
It all starts with a simple mistake
Chandra Kishen, Chairman, Centre for Infrastructure, Sustainable Transport and Urban Planning (CiSTUP) told Express that the basic mistake that leads to such demolition drives is the demarcation of stormwater drains. “Due to rapid growth, drains and the ground have become indistinguishable, leading to several problems,” he said.
Besides, poor waste management in the city also clogs stormwater drains, flooding low-lying areas during heavy rainfall, he said.
He added that the only way to deal with the problem is to ensure that all encroachments are dealt with.
However, the root cause is improper maintenance of drains and shrinking boundaries of lakes, he added.