The High Court of Karnataka on Tuesday directed the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to install closed circuit television cameras around all lakes to keep vigil and prevent miscreants from indulging in illegal activities such as encroaching or damaging these areas.
A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice H.T. Narendra Prasad issued the direction while continuing dictation of the interim order on a PIL petition filed in 2014 related to the issue lack of maintaining storm water drains and preventing entry of sewage into the SWDs and lakes in the city.
The Bench also directed the BBMP to come up with a comprehensive plan within six weeks to prevent encroachment of SWDs while directing the State’s Survey Department to complete instances of SWD encroachments provided by the BBMP for surveying the extent of encroachments.
The BBMP, the Bench said, should take steps to create awareness so that citizens stop throwing any material into the lakes and are educated about fundamental duties, under the Article 51A of the Constitution, particularly related to protect and improve the natural environment. The BBMP has also bee directed to clear garbage everyday if found dumped near lakes.
The State has been directed to set up a system to receive complaints on lake encroachment.
It directed the BBMP to set up a well-equipped public grievance redressal system while noticing that the existing one was not effective in responding to complaints despite having a toll-free phone number. A proper system should be in place in six months, it said. The BBMP’s public grievance system should have mechanism to respond to complainants about feedback or action taken within a specified deadline as citizens are entitled to know the action taken on their grievances and can compel the municipal authority to discharge its statutory obligations. The Bench also said that the BBMP should not disclose the particulars of the complaint if any one desires to keep their identity confidential.
Stating that the court will regularly monitor the progress of the actions taken by the BBMP and the State government on the series of interim directions issued for protecting lakes, the Bench adjourned further hearing till August 5.