Freeze on construction won’t solve water crisis, say citizens

Citizens say stopping development is not the solution to the water crisis in the city

Published: 28th June 2019 06:12 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th June 2019 12:13 PM   |  A+A-

A view of apartment complexes in JP Nagar. Citizens oppose government’s proposal to halt construction of apartments, saying it will hinder progress I SHRIRAM B N

Express News Service

BENGALURU: The state government’s proposal to freeze all apartment constructions in the city for the next five years has come under severe criticism from realtors, apartment federations as well as the public.
Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara said on Thursday that the proposal is due to the prevailing water crisis in the city. While Parameshwara maintained that the final decision will be taken after discussing the matter with builders, citizens are vehemently opposing the move.

Miffed after hearing the news, Swaroop M, a software professional who is looking for a flat, said, “Wipe out half the city’s population and the problem is solved. This is what the government is doing. To avoid water crisis, they are wiping out people and development.”

Parameshwara’s plan has also drawn huge criticism from apartment federations and builders’ associations. Vedaraj, a realtor, said, “This only means the government is accepting its mistake and the crisis. Instead of rectifying its errors, it is penalising others. In fact, there will be repercussions among their own colleagues as many politicians have high stakes in real estate projects.”

Farook Mahmood, President Emeritus, Bangalore Realtors Association — India, said stopping any kind of construction growth will hinder the country’s growth and leave thousands of labourers homeless. Real estate prices will shoot up and will have adverse repercussions on the economy.

After GST and demonetisation, it was only from the last few months that real estate market had started to stabilise. The city witnessed a 23% increase in the industry compared to last fiscal, Mahmood said.
Srikanth Narasimhan, Bengaluru Apartment Federation Secretary, said instead of regulating constructions, the government is stopping them. The problem is not the apartments, but the builders and those involved with them. The government had turned a blind eye on constructions all these years. Politicians and builders encroached drains and lakes and that is why there is water crisis, he said.

Apartment complexes have STPs, rainwater harvesting and percolation pits which actually conserve and re-use water. The effective water consumed per person in apartments is much lower than that of independent houses. It would have been better if all stakeholders were consulted and a holistic plan for water conservation was made, said Adarsh Narahari, governing body member, CREDAI Bengaluru.

‘Bengaluru going the Chennai way’
Noted freedom fighter H S Doreswamy blamed politicians and government officials for the water crisis in the city. Speaking to media here on Thursday, he said that Bengaluru was heading the Chennai way because of improper planning. “Deputy CM G Parameshwara and other ministers have no knowledge on the subject. Ministers cannot do anything and this is the reason why the NGT has to intervene,” he said. Doreswamy was speaking on ‘Bengaluru is the next Zero City- What Bengaluru must learn from Chennai situation.’  He suggested that government agencies take up work on rejuvenating two lakes within three months, then around 36 lakes could be rejuvenated in a year. If the government was seriously worried about the water crisis, then they should revive 50 lakes, he said.


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