BENGALURU: At least for the time-being, shopping malls, IT parks and real estate giants need not worry about any BBMP demolition drive over allegations of them encroaching on storm water drains (SWD). BBMP officials maintain that the encroachment clearance drive will be taken up only in vulnerable areas on a priority basis. So far, not a single locality housing any big private building or mall has been named as one.
Mayor N Manjunath Reddy maintains that a resurvey of malls like Orion and Gopalan Mall will be taken up where there are complaints about encroachments over SWDs for verification.
However, BBMP commissioner N Manjunath Prasad pointed out that the question of a resurvey does not rise as a survey pertaining to the malls were never taken up. Prasad said, “That is not my priority now. We have been very clear about our agenda from the very beginning. We are identifying encroachment in areas that are vulnerable and taking up demolition work on priority basis there. Moreover, the survey in these areas was over almost a year ago and the recent rains were a warning to the situation we were heading into. There are around five lakes in Bommanahalli zone around Madiwala Lake which were flooding during rains due to the encroachment on SWDs. There have been many complaints or petitions about encroachment across various parts of the city by various parties but that can be taken up later after a proper survey.”
However, Mayor Reddy insisted, “A re-survey of all areas where there have been complaints of encroachment on SWDs leading to nuisance has been directed. This includes all malls, IT tech parks and apartments. A survey of malls was done two years ago but there was no issue of flood then and it was not taken seriously.”
Speaking on big builders Reddy said, “Currently, the drive is taken on a priority basis in areas like Bommanahalli where there were heavy floods during the rains. Once this is over, slowly the drive will be extended to the entire city, keeping the future in mind. The CM has been very particular that no one should be spared, be it big or small, if there evidence of any kind of encroachment.”
A government source said, “Based on public interest, encroachments are being cleared. If a large area is under encroachment and is leading to issues of flooding, clearance will be taken up in those areas immediately after necessary survey. But a demolition drive will not necessarily be taken up due to complaints of encroachment if there is no public interest involved.”