Encroachment removal begins at Hulimavu lake

But brakes were applied after some residents got a stay order from a local court

January 02, 2020 09:58 pm | Updated 09:58 pm IST

Some illegal structures at Hulimavu lake being brought down during the demolition drive on Thursday.

Some illegal structures at Hulimavu lake being brought down during the demolition drive on Thursday.

The civic body on Thursday began a drive to remove encroachments of Hulimavu lake bed area but had to retreat midway as occupants of houses set to be demolished brought a stay order from a local court.

A fact-finding committee that probed reasons for the recent lake breach had blamed encroachment of the lake, and had recommended their removal. Recently, the Lokayukta had directed the tahsildar to carry out a survey of the lakebed and remove encroachments in eight weeks.

A joint team of the Revenue Department and Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) began the drive on Thursday morning with a plan to demolish 14 buildings. However, the residents of eight buildings got a stay order from a court, effectively bringing the demolition drive to a halt.

The BBMP only demolished two unoccupied buildings, took possession of a park developed by a temple and six vacant sites in the lake bed on Thursday. These plots will be fenced, a civic official said.

“The Revenue Department and BBMP are blaming each other. Where should we go,” asked S. Nagaraj, whose house was set to be demolished.

“We are poor people. Where should we go if the government lands up one fine morning to demolish our sheds without any prior notice,” asked Krishnamma, as she broke down when civic officials landed at her doorstep with earthmovers.

“Of the 140-acre lake, more than 18 acres are encroached. A survey was done and notices served to encroachers in 2016. A court has given a stay order on that notice now. Eight residents have got stay orders. We are also giving an opportunity to residents who do not have a stay order to vacate,” said Mohan Krishna, chief engineer, Lakes, BBMP.

The BBMP, in a release, said the tahsildar will issue notices to temples, government school, a badminton court, and other facilities developed in a BDA layout on 11.20 acres, and will be vacated soon.

Harish Kumar, general manager, Namma Bengaluru Foundation, the petitioner before Lokayukta in the case, said the Lokayukta had directed the Revenue Department to issue notices to the BBMP and the complainant during the survey, but they received no notices in this regard. “The tahsildar is directed by the order to evict the encroachment in accordance with the law. Therefore, we wish that the authorities act as per the orders of the Lokayukta,” he said.

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