Karnataka HC Seeks Scheme From State/BBMP On Restoring 19 Disappeared Lakes In City

Karnataka HC Seeks Scheme From State/BBMP On Restoring 19 Disappeared Lakes In City

The Karnataka High Court has directed State government and Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to in a month's time come out with a comprehensive scheme to either restore 19 disappeared lakes or create artificial lakes to compensate for the loss.

A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Mohammad Nawaz while hearing a public interest litigation filed by Citizen Action Group, said "The State and Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagra Palike (BBMP), will have to come out with measures to restore the disappeared lakes. If it was not possible to restore these lakes, then the state should discharge its constitutional obligation of maintaining and restoring lakes, by creating artificial lakes to compensate for the damage caused to the environment."

In June, the bench had observed that "Prima facie we find there has been a complete failure on part of the state government and its authorities to protect the lakes/tanks and other water bodies in the city of Bengaluru. Allowing disappearing of lakes is in violation of Article 21 of the Constitution of India. It is the primary responsibility of the state to maintain lakes/tanks it cannot shirk its responsibility by saying maintenance is entrusted with other authorities (BBMP)."

As per, list submitted 19 lakes had lost the characteristics of lakes and were being utilised as bus stations, stadiums, office of the Pollution Control Board, revenue quarters, KHB colony and BDA layouts. According to corporation there are 210 lakes in Bengaluru city.

The court directed state government to in two weeks appoint NEERI and release the funds required for it to carry out study of present lakes, locate disappeared lakes and suggest/ recommend measures for restoration and rejuvenation.

The bench also warned of initiating proceedings under the Contempt of Courts Act, against the state and BBMP for not following court orders and setting up grievance redressal mechanism for citizens to lodge complaints about encroachment on lakes or surrounding areas. It has given time of three week to the authorities to file compliance report.

The High Court stayed ongoing construction and alleged encroachment of Subramanyapura Lake, till August 30. Activist Leo Saldanha has filed an application in the court highlighting the same.