Divya Ramamurthi

No construction activity to be allowed in the valley areas

Using satellite imagery, BDA has listed about 180 structures as encroachments Property worth over Rs. 40 crores recovered in drive against encroachments Constructions on stormwater drains blamed for the city flooding fast during rain

BANGALORE: The Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) has set its sights on clearing the valley area around Madiwala and Puttenahalli lakes of encroachments.

Using satellite imagery, the BDA has listed about 180 structures as encroachments, the largest number so far. Most of these buildings are built on revenue lands. "We have short-listed the buildings and will start work clearing the area of encroachments soon," an official said.

The official said that many people do not know they have constructed buildings on Government land. "They just get a clearance from the panchayat or the CMC and think all their problems are solved. They do not realise that they also need to get clearance from the BDA," he said.

The BDA, assisted by the Bangalore Metropolitan Task Force and the Deputy Commissioner Urban, has removed encroachments from Hebbal and Nagavara valley. Over 23 pieces of property worth over Rs. 40 crores were recovered through these drives. It has removed more than 23 structures in the Bhadrappa valley area and more than 20 structures in Nayandanahalli area that had encroached on Government land.

Members of the task force, and the BDA say the encroachments need to be removed for the city to be able to withstand heavy rains. Haphazard planning, including constructions on stormwater drains, has resulted in the city flooding fast. "All stormwater drains were blocked because of the build up on top of them," says a BDA official.

After removing encroachments along the Puttenahalli valley, the BDA, along with the task force, plans to clear up the Dodda and Chikka Begur and Singasandra lakes. The work will go on till March-end. The cleared lands will than be handed over to the Lake Development Authority for maintenance. "We want to clear all the encroachments and improve the green spaces in the city," says a task force member.

In keeping with the Draft Master Plan 2015, developed by the BDA in consultation with a French agency SEC Crocean, no construction will be allowed in the valley areas. In the draft master plan, the area has been designated as protected areas. "Even if people have land in the area, they cannot use it to build multi-storeyed buildings or houses. It has to be protected as a green area," says a BDA official.