Setting a deadline for shifting industrial units from the prohibited zones of Tippagondanahalli (T.G. Halli) reservoir catchment area, the Karnataka High Court on Monday made it clear that the heads of various government departments as well as proprietors of industrial units will be liable for criminal prosecution if the units are not shifted before September 10.
A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice D.H. Waghela and Justice B.V. Nagarathna passed an order in this regard refusing to grant any more time for the 10 industrial units, which have sought more time to shift while seeking extension of July 31, 2013 deadline fixed by the court last year.
The Bench was hearing a public interest litigation petition initiated suo motu by it on the illegal operation of some industrial units in a zone where only agriculture-related activities were permitted in the zoning classification notification issued on November 18, 2003. Top executives of these industrial units had personally appeared before the court last year and had given an undertaking on relocation before the deadline.
The Bench said that all these units prima facie failed to adhere to the undertaking given to the court and various authorities and their heads had failed in discharging their duties after the catchment area was declared ecologically sensitive and ban imposed on various activities with effect from November 18, 2003.
“They (heads of industrial units and the officials) have taken it too lightly for too long,” the Bench observed while indicating strong action if the order of the court was not complied with by the next date of hearing.
Meanwhile, government counsel Raveendra G. Kolle told the Bench that the Urban Development Department, after 2003 notification, had given several strict orders to various authorities on protecting the catchment area for ensuring smooth low of water into the reservoir.
Submitting the details of the affidavit filed by the Urban Development Department Principal Secretary, he said that the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), after inspection, had found 17 unauthoriesed layouts in various survey numbers of Byayandarahalli, Dasanapura Hobli, Bangalore north taluk.
“The BDA has inspected the spot to identify the unauthorised layouts and to collect address of the developers to file criminal cases as per Section 73 of the KTCP Act… On January 31, 2012 it was decided to demolish these unauthorised layouts. Accordingly, inspection was conducted and it was noticed that the land owners had not formed these unauthorised layouts, only general power of attorney holders had formed them. The BDA is in the process of collecting details of these layouts and the authority will take suitable action,” it has been stated in the affidavit.