‘Survey illegal construction in reservoir catchment buffer zone’

HC wants status following new buffer zone classification around T.G Halli reservoir catchment area as per Government Order issued on July 20

August 19, 2019 08:49 pm | Updated August 20, 2019 07:59 am IST

A view of Thippagondanhalli reservoir, which is located at the confluence of Arkavathy and Kumudavathi rivers, 35 km west of Bengaluru, on Magadi Road.

A view of Thippagondanhalli reservoir, which is located at the confluence of Arkavathy and Kumudavathi rivers, 35 km west of Bengaluru, on Magadi Road.

The Karnataka High Court on Monday directed the State government to conduct a survey of the illegal constructions, put up by a large number of petitioners in violation of restrictions imposed in the Thippagondanahalli (TG Halli) reservoir catchment area buffer zone classification notification of 2003.

The survey is to find out the position of such constructions in terms of the new buffer zone classification as per the Government Order issued on July 20, 2019.

The court also asked the government to clarify whether the July 20 Government Order of reduction in the buffer zone limitation around T.G. Halli reservoir’s catchment area, and Arkavathy and Kumudavthi rivers is prospective or retrospective in nature.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Mohammad Nawaz issued the directions during the hearing of a PIL petition initiated suo motu by the court in 2013 on the illegal operation of industrial units in a buffer zone where only agriculture-related activities were permitted in the zoning classification notified on November 18, 2003, and the petitions filed by those individuals and companies who have put up godowns and similar structures in zones where only agricultural activities were permitted as per the 2003 notification.

The 2003 notification had barred all activities other than agriculture or agriculture-related within a one kilometre distance from the river banks of Arkavathy (only upto Hessaraghatta tank from T.G. Halli reservoir) and Kumudavathi while classifying this as Zone 3, and the July 2019 notification limited this distance only up to 500 metres.

The area between one kilometre and two kilometres distance from the banks of the Arkavathy and Kumudavathi rivers that was classified as Zone 4 under the 2003 notification allowing selected non-agricultural activities, has been revised by limiting the restrictions between 500 metres and one kilometre.

Pointing out that development activities were crippled due to imposition of restrictions on land use up to two kilometre from river banks of Arkavathy and Kumudavathi, the July 20, 2019 notification states that a meeting chaired by the then Deputy Chief Minister on July 20, 2019 decided to limit the restriction on land use up to 500 metres in Zone 3 and up to only one kilometre in Zone 4.

In addition to permitting only Green category industrial activities with environmental clearance and buildings up to first floor with mandatory rainwater harvesting system in Zone 4 as per the 2003 notification, the July 2019 notification also permits use of land falling in Zone 4 for setting up activities like education and medical educational, hospitals, government hostels with mandatory zero discharge sewage facilities by removing restrictions on the height of the buildings.

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