Builder mafia sinking illegal borewells with impunity, say Bengaluru residents

Residents said instead of stopping illegal borewells, the officials are talking of discontinuing power supply, which means they are siding with illegal borewell drillers.
An unauthorised borewell being drilled at Sai Serenity Layout in Basavanapura
An unauthorised borewell being drilled at Sai Serenity Layout in Basavanapura(Photo | Express)

BENGALURU: Despite repeated complaints and directions from the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB), illegal drilling of borewells in the city is continuing unabated. While in the first week of January, three unauthorised borewells were sunk in three days in Whitefield, in the latest incident, one such borewell was drilled on Krishna Yamuna Road at Sai Serenity Layout in Basavanapura ward on Sunday and Monday.

Illegal borewell drilling poses a risk as several parts of the city fall under an over-exploitation area termed as ‘red zone’. Residents said the builder mafia is choosing holidays to carry out their dirty work to avoid inspection and notices from officials.

Kumar Naik, Chief Engineer of Bengaluru East, BWSSB, said if people raise a complaint, the BWSSB will direct the police to act and BESCOM to sever the power connections.

Residents said instead of stopping illegal borewells, the officials are talking of discontinuing power supply, which means they are siding with illegal borewell drillers.

“The builders here are calling the shots, and many constructions are against the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) bylaws. Five to seven floors are built, there are no sewage connection, and raw sewage is being diverted to the lake and illegal borewells are drilled often. The issue was raised with officials in the past, but nothing has happened. I hope Bengaluru Development Minister DK Shivakumar, who keeps on harping about creating ‘Brand Bengaluru’ will have the guts to crack down on illegal buildings,” said a resident.

In Whitefield, residents have been complaining about illegal borewell drilling, but officials are just turning a blind eye, said Sandeep Anirudhan, convenor, Namma Whitefield. “Between January 4 and 7, three illegal borewells were drilled,” he said.

“None of the officials pick up phones. It is as though this was to allow the violators to finish the illegal drilling. This raises a host of questions on what is going on behind the scenes. There are allegations of corruption. Officials have been claiming that they are under pressure from politicians and goons. If that is the case, why can’t they complain to the police? Or if they can’t do their job, why don’t they resign? In this case, unless the authority seals illegal borewells, imposes heavy fines, files an FIR against the violators and the contractors, cancels the contractor’s licence, and seizes all the equipment used for drilling, doubts will not be laid to rest,” he said.

Of the 40-plus cases in the last two months, every single one was attempted for commercial or construction use, both of which are banned as Bengaluru is notified as a ‘red zone,’ yet officials failed to act, noted Anirudhan.

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