The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday set up a Special Monitoring Committee (SMC) to oversee measures taken to protect and preserve Tippagondanahalli (T.G. Halli) catchment area and nominated Additional Chief Secretary V. Umesh as its chairman.
The committee will have powers to oversee the functions and issue necessary directions to the existing committees and various statutory authorities that are responsible for protecting the area, particularly Zone-3 of the catchment area, as per the November 18, 2003 notification issued by the State categorising the catchment area into different zones for its protection.
Additional Chief Secretary M.N. Vidhashankar, who is in-charge of the Commerce and Industries Department; Principal Secretaries T.M. Vijaya Bhaskar (Rural Development and Panchayat Raj), and P.N. Srinivasachary (Urban Development), Basavaraj (Revenue), and Ramachandra, Secretary, Ecology and Environment, will be the members of SMC. S.B. Honnur, Additional Director (Town Planning), Bangalore Metropolitan Regional Development Authority, will be its member-secretary.
The chairman of the SMC has been asked to submit an affidavit on January 10, 2014 indicating its activities till January 9. The SMC has been directed to meet every week, and if not possible at least once in two weeks.
The court passed the order while hearing petitions filed by owners of properties alleging that notices were issued to them for demolishing unauthorised structures put up by them in the Zone-3 while leaving out several others. The court prima facie accepted their contention as a survey indicated existence of a large number of unauthorised constructions put up by others in the area.
Task force pulled up
Justice Gowda also pulled up the task force cell in the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), headed by a Superintendent of Police, for its failure to identify development of 146 unauthorised layouts in 23 villages under the BDA’s jurisdiction falling in Zone-3.
“Did these officials need special equipments to see what is happening? Are they blind?” the court observed while indicating it would pass appropriate order on task force after providing an opportunity to its head.