The Jungle Law Reigned Supreme On Bengaluru Lakebeds For Two Decades
Do you know what has been happening around the Banaswadi lake bed? Originally 42 acres wide, the BDA has developed housing layouts on 14 acres. After the buildings on private layouts were demolished, one wonders about the BDA housing plots. BDA is certainly in the wrong too. But why?
The truth is always a bitter pill to swallow. A committee has been formed to survey the encroachments upon 1718 lakes. The committee decided to submit an interim report after a study of 28 lakes and is believed to be spending only a few minutes at each area. How long the process would continue and what would be the fate of those who are evicted are hard questions with no satisfactory answers.
Narayanapura Lake near K.R. Puram tells a similar story. The overgrown bushes indicate the appearance of a forest rather than a lake. As much as 7 acres of the total of 15 acres have been encroached upon already. House and temples are the villains that have sprouted illegally of course and a road has taken up a large tract of land too. It is quite clear that no survey work has been conducted by BDA over the last two decades.
Why should innocent residents who bought plots and constructed houses with the savings of a lifetime be punished so severely? While the law would protect such innocents, when and how the justice would come is the source of worry. In fact many are packing up and leaving in anticipation of the eviction drive that has been happening elsewhere on other lakebeds.
Since BDA is the ultimate authority for buying and selling and building sanctions, they are responsible for the current mess. It is quite certain that BDA corrupt officials have allowed such housing layouts and commercial establishments to develop. Where are those corrupt officials who received bribes and gave the green signal? The law does not say that crimes are forgiven because many years have passed?
Ever since the decision was taken to demolish illegal structures, the clamor of the displaced people has been intensifying. They are openly accusing BDA of cheating their interests by allowing such constructions to happen. Though the Karnataka state government would take the final decisions, fear and worry are apparent on the faces and minds of the local residents. It seems that all decisions go in favor of the big fish and too many of them exist in the global city that is Bengaluru.
Earlier came the Sarakki Lake demolition process and 200 buildings that included not only homes but schools and medical centers too came down to dust. The demolition is ongoing in Banaswadi with some structures already gone while examination of documents is in process with others to ascertain legitimacy.
As we wait and watch helplessly, resigned to the situation and empathetic towards the sufferers, the law must have it course. Yet justice must be done for those who are losing out and their near and dear ones. The corrupt must be brought to book and compensation paid by the state government for the mistakes committed by their officers.