Bengaluru

HC asks about role of corporates in lake development and maintenance

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The Chief Minister has appealed for participation by the private sector

The Karnataka High Court on Monday directed the State government to explain what type of roles are assigned to the corporate companies and organisations in development and maintenance of tanks/lakes across the State as per the appeal made by the Chief Minister as chairperson of the Karnataka Tank Conservation and Development Authority (KTCDA), published in newspapers in December last year.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Hemant Chandangoudar issued the direction during the hearing of PIL petitions related to lakes and stormwater drains.

However, the bench observed that the appeal does not mean that lakes/tanks will be handed over to private companies.

Leo Saldanha of Environment Support Group, who is a party to the PIL proceedings, pointed out to the bench that the appeal amounts to “privatisation” of lakes while pointing out that the appeal indicates that some private companies have already come forward to take up development and maintenance of 11 lakes in Bengaluru under the Corporate Social Responsibility.

In his interlocutory application, Mr. Saldanha has claimed that the government has not provided information on the manner of involving private companies while also contending that the move of KTCDA is contrary to an undertaking given to the court on involving private companies in maintenance of lakes in earlier proceedings.

Maps of lakes in State

Meanwhile, the bench directed the government to procure data of the lakes in the State available on Survey of Maps-1972 prepared by the Survey of India, and information on lakes available with the Karnataka State Remote Sensing Application Centre, Bengaluru. The bench issued direction after it was pointed out by Mr. Saldanha that data related to all lakes could be available with the two organisations when the bench sought to know the number of lakes and tanks across the State.

Waterbirds habitat survey

The bench also directed the government to extend logistic support to the survey of waterbirds habitats being conducted by Birdwatchers Field Club of Bengaluru under the guidance of ornithologist S. Subramanya, a retired professor of the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bengaluru, for updating the results of a similar survey conducted in 1989.

In his application, Mr. Saldanha pointed out that the government has not responded to their plea for logistic support to survey the lakes and tanks while clarifying that they are not seeking any fund from the government.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 7:42:28 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/hc-asks-about-role-of-corporates-in-lake-development-and-maintenance/article30560053.ece

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