Actions to clear lake encroachments should be visible on the ground: HC

Observing orally that taking action to remove encroachments of lakes does not mean only corresponding with letters but it should be visible on the ground, the High Court of Karnataka on Friday summoned the engineers of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) for not taking concrete action to clear the identified encroachments on Subramanyapura and Begur lakes.

A Division Bench comprising acting Chief Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice J.M. Khazi issued the direction while hearing a batch of PIL petitions on issues related to protection, maintenance and rejuvenation of lakes in the city.

The Bench took serious exception to the excuses cited by the BBMP counsel on behalf of the engineers that there are hurdles to removing some of the encroachments, like slums in the lake area, as they fall under a different authority, and that the engineers have written letters to the different authorities in this regard.

The Bench pointed out that it had already clarified that the law empowers the designated officers of the BBMP to act against encroachments as per the provisions of the Karnataka Tank Conservation and Development Authority Act – 2014.

What the executive engineers, who are the designated officers, have done in the last six weeks to initiate action for removal of the encroachments, the Bench asked.

Pointing out that these petitions are not adversary litigations but are meant for protecting lakes for future generations, the Bench asked the BBMP counsel to advise the officers to take the issue seriously.

While directing the designated executive engineers in charge of the two lakes to be personally present in the court on July 20, the Bench also directed the Government counsel to extend cooperation from different authorities to the designated officers in the process of clearing encroachments.

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Printable version | Jul 18, 2022 11:49:02 am |