The Karnataka High Court on Thursday criticised the State Government for its failure to protect world heritage sites in Hampi and clear it of encroachments. A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice J.S. Khehar and Justice A.S. Bopanna took to task the State Government and the Hampi World Heritage Management Authority for their failure to clear Hampi of the encroachments. The Bench sought to know why the Government had not taken action on the representations made by Sri Kotturuswamy Kalyan Kendra of Hospet. The kendra said that Hampi is rapidly becoming a haunt for illegal activities, including drug abuse prostitution and gambling.

Several illegal structures had come up in the vicinity of the heritage sites. The State and the authority, which was constituted in 2002, had failed to act. The Bench, in its oral observations, said that in case the Government failed to act against the encroachers, it would have to pass orders. “Tell us how many days you want before we pass orders for removing the encroachments,” it asked the Government advocate and adjourned the case.