‘Need to go beyond knee-jerk quick fixes to solve encroachment issues’ | Bengaluru - Hindustan Times
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‘Need to go beyond knee-jerk quick fixes to solve encroachment issues’

By, Bengaluru
Sep 16, 2022 12:13 AM IST

Latest to join the list is biotechnology industry veteran Kiran Mazumdar Shaw who asked “why officials are not punished for issuing these permissions.”

The controversy over the ongoing anti-encroachment drive by civic body Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) refuses to die down even as residents have sought a probe on how the permissions were granted in first place for constructions on stormwater drains.

The controversy over the ongoing anti-encroachment drive by civic body Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) refuses to die down even as residents have sought a probe on how the permissions were granted in first place for constructions on stormwater drains. (HT)
The controversy over the ongoing anti-encroachment drive by civic body Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) refuses to die down even as residents have sought a probe on how the permissions were granted in first place for constructions on stormwater drains. (HT)

Latest to join the list is biotechnology industry veteran Kiran Mazumdar Shaw who asked “why officials are not punished for issuing these permissions.”

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She asked for a parallel investigation into how the BBMP and Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) permitted such encroachments. The encroachments over the stormwater drains caused severe waterlogging post rainfall in the city. “Without the permission of civic bodies, it wouldn’t have been possible to construct them illegally in the city,” she said.

“The question that begs to be answered is whether there will be a parallel investigation into how the BBMP and BDA gave permissions in the first place,” she told PTI.

She said that the anti-encroachment drive launched by the BMMP this week was long overdue. “If the BBMP would have acted on time, the city could have been saved from witnessing its worst waterlogging,” she said.

“We need to go beyond knee-jerk quick fixes and find holistic long-term solutions. For example, razing buildings will impact helpless and innocent homeowners. Why not penalise developers and BDA/BBMP and use that to create proper water canals,”she said.

A resident of Papaiah Reddy Layout in Mahadevapura Zone, Ramesh Kumar ,whose house’s compound wall was demolished, said his building plans “were approved by the BBMP”. Apart from him, 15 residents of the area said they were issued occupancy certificates. “We were told that the demolition of the wall was a warning and they will demolish the entire structure soon. In that case what action has been taken against the officials who issued the certificate?” Kumar asked.

“What the government is doing is not fair. They have approved our (building) plans. BBMP has approved it. In our plan, BBMP has said that the stormwater drain has been diverted. We have been paying taxes, and now the government says they are going to demolish the building,” said a resident of Mahadevapura told the media.

AK Singh, a former government employee and a resident of the Mahaveer apartment in Mahadevapura, said all residents of his building have an occupancy certificate. “The BBMP has issued this certificate. Why did they issue it if there was a stormwater drain here? Didn’t they know it? We trusted that BBMP has done its job before issuing the occupancy certificate. We will approach the court,” he said.

Responding to the allegations, a senior BBMP official said these claims made by the residents have to be verified. “We have to verify these documents. In many cases, they construct more than the plan that has been approved. We have seen this in many cases. They can always approach us if they have relevant documents, and we will look into them. But as of now, the orders we have are to continue the drive,” said the official.

Meanwhile, the Karnataka Lokayukta advised both the BBMP and Bagmane Tech Park to cooperate in the demolition drive. Lokayukta justice BS Patil observed that officials must act following the law while carrying out the demolitions. The direction came while considering a complaint by the Bagmane Group.

The tech park had approached the Lokayukta to stop the demolition drive on its premises. However, the Lokayukta refused to put a stay but asked the civic officials to follow due process before the bulldozer action. The Lokayukta directed the BBMP engineer and joint commissioner to conduct an inquiry on the park’s complaint.

The matter was adjourned to October 11.

“My order on Monday is based on the high court order as I asked the BBMP to comply with the court’s verdict. I have asked them to follow due procedure by issuing notices to the property owners and hearing them. While this is not a stay order, I have clearly said the encroachment drive should continue wherever it is necessary,” the Lokayukta told the media.

Following the Lokayukta directive, the civic authorities halted the drive at the tech park. The BBMP said that they will follow the High Court’s direction before demolishing any encroached portion.

While objections to the drive are increasing, chief minister Basavaraj Bommai has given a clear instruction to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike that there will be no discrimination in the demolition drive of the illegal encroachers -- after the name of several top IT parks featured on the list. Speaking in the state assembly on Wednesday, the chief minister said he has told the civic chief and the officials not to succumb to any pressure in the drive.

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