On Thursday morning, residents of the South City apartment complex (of the South City Group Housing scheme) on Bannerghatta Road were in for a rude shock.
Close to eight bulldozers were pulling down the outer compound wall of the complex, in the presence of as many as 100 policemen. The demolition was, in fact, part of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike's encroachment clearance drive.
The apartment complex had reportedly encroached upon the storm-water drain area. Also, the compound wall was obstructing pedestrian movement. Senior officials of the BBMP's Bommanahalli zone supervised the demolition in which the compound wall of the apartment was brought down.
It all started when BBMP Commissioner Siddaiah is said to have noticed the encroachments while carrying out an intensive cleaning programme on Bannerghatta Road recently.
Mr. Siddaiah had asked officials to issue a notice to the developers and ensure that drains were not encroached upon anywhere in the city as it would lead to flooding when it rained.
The South City project is spread across 34 acres with 1,800 apartments in 16 towers and has been developed by Larsen and Toubro's ECC Construction Division. In all the documents pertaining to the project, the western boundary of the property is defined as an open drain. According to sources, the 150-ft wide open drain running south to north was visible till about five years ago, until it was slowly filled up with soil and closed altogether.
Residents claim that the demolition was not justified as the matter was in the civil court and with the Lokayukta.
N. Ravi, a resident said: “They have taken action without serving us a copy of their recommendatory decision. Even in the morning, when the demolition started, the BBMP official did not have a copy of the order, and we are being promised a copy on Monday. This will ensure that we cannot file a writ in the High Court restraining action by the BBMP.”
South City Group Housing Apartment Owners' Association (SUGRUHA) president Abraham Kuruvilla told The Hindu that they would move the court against the “high-handedness and grave injustice” of the palike.