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End of bellandur / rise of concrete

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Lakes

The two media links below are fairly self explanatory of what can be called a potentiol ecologocal disaster right here in banglore. The strories of bellandur lake are based on an IISc report  that is attached to this post.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/multicrore-project-swallows-bellandur-wetland/article4775708.ece

 
In a nutshell:
  • Kiadb and karnataka udyog mitra  single window) have allotted about 80 acres in the belandur lake bed area for a dubious project.
  • The companies allotted are manipal ETA( which has sushil mantri as  a director) and coremind.
  • Project is of huge malls, many residential cpomplexes and an sez and commercial complexes. LOoks more ;like a real estate development than any industrial venture.
  • The land in the BDA masterplan 2015 is termed "sensitive" area.In previous cdps these were parks /public utiliies etc.
  • KIadb act seesm to supersede all other local bodies, rasinig questions of validity of local giovernment, elected reps etc.
  • BDA/BBMP have not been consulted in the project or land which lies very much in BDA planning are and BBMP municipal limits.
  • The water requirement of the project is more than whatisi currently available for koramangla and HSR.
  • Bwssb has not given clearance but the project is going on.
  • Coremind has not got environmental clearance but work on the ground goes on.
  • Even the terms of the KIADB allotment seems to have been violated ... raj akalves encoraoched , topograpghy of region changed, local autrhorities not consulted etc.
  • The project envisages 14000vehicles parking space!!
  • Belandur lake ..be damned..
 
Guess it calls for a PIL ..news on that shortly.
 
vmenon
PS: IISc report embedded here through scribd, for ease of access and readability

IISC Report on Bellandur Lake

AttachmentSize
IISc_ETR55_Bellanduru_REPORT.PDF2.97 MB

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vmenon's picture

continuing story of belandur /citizen matters

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Second part of the story on citizen matters.

 

 

http://bangalore.citizenmatters.in/articles/view/5332-how-govt-helps-sez-trump-bellandur-greens

 

MANIPAL ETA INFOTECH IRREGULARITIES - II

How govt helps SEZ trump Bellandur lake

The central Environmental Ministry watchdog office in Bengaluru is so understaffed that they are signing off compliance reports without even inspecting sites. This is one of many reasons this 72-acre realty project is proceeding despite major violations.

By Navya P K

In Part I of this series, Citizen Matters blew the lid off the IISc report that revealed the encroachment of a major Rajakaluve by the SEZ project by Manipal ETA Infotech Pvt Ltd. This part will explain the random changes made by the BDA in the status of the project land, resulting in a change of status, from being a ‘valley zone' to an industrial area.

The site has seen some rapid changes in the last decade. In ‘95, BDA had classified this land as largely residential and park area. In 2005, BDA started revising its master plan. In the draft of the Revised Master Plan (RMP), this land was largely classified as valley zone (green area); some part was reserved for public utilities. The area is part of the K&C (Koramangala & Chalaghatta) valley. The draft RMP was shared with the public, and objections were invited from them.

But the classification was changed again. When the final RMP was published in 2007, there was no valley marked. Instead, much of the land had been marked as ‘sensitive residential' area. N K Thippeswamy, Joint Director (East) in BDA's Town Planning section, says that ‘sensitive' is usually a tag for areas that house drains which connect lakes. Sensitive areas are indicated in the RMP maps using slanted white lines across the area. No explanation is given in RMP about the reason for this change.

 

Above: This panel has three maps of the site - the first is the CDP ‘95, second is draft of the RMP, and the third is the final RMP-2015. In ‘95 CDP, much of the project area (inside the red circle) is park and residential areas (marked green and yellow). In the draft RMP, this is marked in green and orange. Green indicates valley zone, and orange means public utilities.

Valley zones are protected, no-development areas. In the last panel - the final RMP - this was changed, so that there could be construction on the land. The colours here are yellow (residential) and pink (public utilities). The slanting lines over the yellow areas is to show that this is a sensitive area. So in the course of three Master Plans, the land classification changed from residential-park to valley-utilities to ‘sensitive residential'-utilities.

 

So now, much of the original park area is gone. Instead, multi-storeyed buildings are coming up here. But the BDA's actions cannot be termed ‘illegal.' The RMP itself says that, if the BDA or the government has already given permission to develop a valley zone, then land classification does not matter. The only restriction is that new permissions cannot be given, once the land is classified as valley.

Here is what the RMP says: "Any land falling within the valley for which permission has been accorded either by the Authority or the government, and then such permission shall be valid irrespective of the land use classification in the RMP 2015."

Here, land acquisition for the project had started much before the RMP was drafted, so technically, land can be developed. But even now, the RMP also shows a ‘planning recommendation' to designate the area around Bellandur lake as ‘green area - valley'.

BDA does nothing

There is speculation that BDA's random changes in land classification may have been to accommodate the already approved project. BDA's current Town Planning Member B M Tirakana Goudar says, "Only those involved in RMP preparation would know about this. There is no reason recorded for this anywhere." Former top BDA officers were also unaware of the issue.

This does not mean that sensitive areas can be used in any fashion. In 2008, government had formed a committee to approve development projects in all sensitive zones marked in the RMP. BDA Commissioner heads this committee; other members include officers from BBMP, BDA, BMRDA etc., and two professors from IISc.

Thippeswamy says, "The committee will visit the site and check the feasibility of the project. Developers will be asked to maintain buffer around drains, and to maintain the land in more or less the same way. Parts of the sensitive zone can be made into parks."

But in the case of Manipal ETA Infotech, existing parks have only given way to mega-buildings. The approved project plan shows that not more than 10% of the site area has been marked for parks and open spaces. It is not clear if the BDA has separate guidelines on how exactly the valley area can be developed.

Watchdog enviro-authority too overloaded to act

The central government's MoEF (Ministry of Environment and Forests) has its Southern Zone Regional Office in Bangalore. This office is supposed to monitor infrastructure projects that have received environmental approval. Scientists here are supposed to check if builders are complying with norms. They are supposed to visit the sites annually, and also ask the builder to send compliance reports once in every six months.

But no such scrutiny has happened in the case of this project. Manipal ETA Infotech did send a compliance report and its Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report in March 2012 to this office, but there has been nothing more.

A top officer here says that there are only four scientists to approve all projects in the four South Indian states, in addition to Goa and Lakshadweep. "We have a target of approving 400 projects annually for the entire zone. But in Karnataka alone, 8,000-10,000 projects are coming up every year now. So often, we can only sign the papers, and are unable to do any field visits," he says. So much for monitoring compliance.

He said that the department takes action on specific cases if there are complaints, and promised to take action on this project, if citizens or media could give a written complaint.

No sustainable arrangement for water

The EIA repeatedly says that the company will not have to dig bore wells since BWSSB will supply water to the project. It also says that treated water from the BWSSB will be used for construction.

However, once the project is operational, it will need 4.5 MLD (Million Litres per Day) of water. The BWSSB had given the company NOC (No Objection Certificate) for only the two residential apartment blocks in the complex. These two apartments make up only about 1% of the total built-up area of the project. No other water sources are mentioned for the remaining area. Citizen Matters had reported this earlier.

In the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report and other documents, the company has repeatedly said that it will get water from the BWSSB. But until recently, the BWSSB was not even aware of the project.

Citizen Matters has not been able to confirm if treated water is indeed being used now, during construction.

This project, after completion, will lead to a massive traffic jam in the area. The existing 15-meter wide road will not be able to take up the burden of the sea of private vehicles. This will be explained in Part-III of the series.

 

 

See articles on

 

srinidhi's picture

curious case..

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When I first saw the Citizen Matters report..I was a bit surprised..the matter about ETA having issues with water was getting prominence than the actual encraochment of the lake area..but none the less I was happy atleast there was some traction..

Bellandur lake area is currently been rampantly encroached as we speak..we can see mounds of earth moved on by the encraochers from the ring road itself..a google earth view of the entire lake area shrinking in the last 10 years is alarming..

I would think proper fencing of the entire lake area..including the grasslands/wetlands/raja kaluves..everything..would go a long way in defining what bellandur lake is or atleast whats left of it!

The authorities wont do it cos they like the grey areas in jurisdiction like as mentioned about BDA above..they can twist and turn everything as needed..so its high time the responsibilities are nailed and we have point contacts for everything concerning lakes and its environment!

Once again thanks for bringing this up!

 

 

kbsyed61's picture

Any baby steps?

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Vijayan,

Thanks for taking lead on this. I was wondering before the case for PIL is navigated, are there any baby steps that individuals like me or groups like Praja can take to formally lodge the complaints? The Citizen Matters article quotes Central EM South Division Official

"..He said that the department takes action on specific cases if there are complaints, and promised to take action on this project, if citizens or media could give a written complaint..."

 I am ready to shoot a complaint provided if you could provide the line of questioning or points to be raised with Central Environmental Ministry or their South Division Office.

-Syed

 

vmenon's picture

Baby steps

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syed,

"I am ready to shoot a complaint provided if you could provide the line of questioning or points to be raised with Central Environmental Ministry or their South Division Office."

 

The big question to be asked is whether they were aware if the area in question is termed "sensitive" in the BDA Masterplan 2015..Such being the case how was an environmental clearance given without BDA even being consulted.

I also suppose there is a whole line of RTI based questions that asks them to disclose their actual file notings /studies done etc.

On PIL, we are of the opinion that that we need to go ahead with it, since all KIADB/Karnataka udyog papers are in after RTI.

Also the IISc report.

One view is that we must gravitate slowly with petitions etc , and the other is to move court as early as possible.With the kind of players in this game and the klind of sanctioning authorities ,methinks the petitioning route is excercise in futility except in trying raise public outcry.

To that extent we would probably do it in parallel.

Anyway the first salvo of the campiagn in terms of media coverage has started!!

the rest ..inshalla

vmenon

 

 

srinidhi's picture

Map shows the choke..

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Here is a map of the Bellanduru - Varthur lake eco-system in 2002..make note of the green stretch connecting the two lakes..ORR is the only construction crossing it then..

Below is the latest map..where this whole section is totally encroached and the encroachers are dumping debris (red arrows) to claim more land..

Bigger maps are here

So its not just one side of the lake area that is being land grabbed..the other sections too have faced the same fate or rather even worse fate..its high time the new govt acts on this..

The main culprit is the Prestige Tech Park (middle red arrow) which has choked the link completely between the Varthur and Bellandur lake..how did they land grab so blatantly?

vatsan007's picture

More residential complexes

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I have been working in one of the companies situated in Prestige Tech Park. The encroachment is happening in broad daylight. Some months back, I could see a "Purvankara" board on the landfill just behind Prestige Tech Park.

The strategy is initially do the landfill, followed by pucca road (mud road access), placing a board that this properly belongs to "so and so" owner. 

 

- Srivatsan

idontspam's picture

Loot by any name is still...

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We tolerate loot by real estate in the name of "development". 

silkboard's picture

PIL worthy

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At least one individual here who tried to gather material and pictrures of the area (shown in Srinidhi's comment above) ran into "warnings" from some people. This, clearly is an area where regular citizen grievance channels can't help as they don't exist or function, plus due to real estate business interests, there is definitely a threat angle active and in work.

murali772's picture

TV-9 panel discussion

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The 1 hr 15 min TV-9 discussion on the subject (which was telecast live on the 17th), in which I partcipated, is accessible here.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

KSPCB comes on to the scene

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The earlier TV-9 news capsule (13 min) on the subject may be accessed here.

And, a subsequent interview with KSPCB chairman, where he confirmed that the project has not sought a Certificate for Establishment from the KSPCB before starting the work and promising suitable action, is accessible here.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

resistance building up

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Citizens of Koramangala, HSR Layout and Bellandur areas have come together under an umbrella group called South-East Bangalore Forum for Sustainable Development, to oppose the massive 72-acre IT SEZ project by Manipal ETA Infotech, near Agara Lake.

27 RWAs representing over 25,000 residents have joined hands and written to Traffic police, BBMP, BDA, BWSSB, Karnataka Udyog Mitra, KIADB, Lake Development Authority, and industry bodies like CII, CREDAI and Nasscom. Citizen Action Forum, a pan-Bangalore federation of over 70 RWAs, has also come forward to support the campaign.


For the full report in Citizen Matters, click here

All very valid questions.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

International recognition for the fight

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Former Citizen Matters staff journalist Navya P K has won an Indo-German environmental journalism award, in the online category. The All India Environmental Journalism Competition award was given to one of the stories written by Navya on the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) project by Mantri Developers coming up on Bellandur wetland - Mantri’s 72 acre project encroaching Rajakaluve: IISc Report, published on May 31, 2013.

For the full report in Citizen Matters, click here.

A link to Navya's award winning report was posted on Praja by vmenon on 3rd June (check above).

I have been interacting with Navya from the very first day she joined Citizen Matters - very clearly a very hard working and dedicated journalist. The country pins its hope on the likes of her. Kudos to Citizen Matters too.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

meanwhile, lake getting choked from all around

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Check the below link on Embassy Pristine
http://embassypristine.com/html/project_details/location_map.html

Don't forget to click on the google link provided below the location map. It's almost on Ballandur lake.

And, Sterling Infinia - even closer to the lake, apparently - check http://wikimapia.org/20989057/Sterling-Infinia

Muralidhar Rao
idontspam's picture

Bangalore's green/lake story

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I have heard how a prestegious builder is on the fringes of the lake operating on land that have suspect records. Its happening all across town real estate is looting our city off its natural resources and the worst part is nobody seems to be in control of this. Who is defining what goes where in this city? Apparently its the builders, not planners

Sanjeev's picture

Even next to Hebbal Lake, huge soil has been accumulated

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Behind BMTC  bus Depot of Hebbal,  huge soil has been dumped with height of 12 ft spread over the area may be 20 acers.  Looks like huge complex might have been planed so that METRO  is forced to go thru this route.

Once this comes thru, Hebbal lake will have death.

Its very clear that  State authorities and area MLA, MP's,  Planning authority r hand in glove. If u ask BDA commissioner,  standard answer is I am not aware as if some one will come & tell him.  Other answer is it has not come to their notice,  if  some one brings to their notice, then  they will wake from the deep sleep. 

murali772's picture

BBMP order pursuant to UpaLokAyukta directive

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http://www.scribd.com/doc/193267076/UpaLokayukta-order

- ordering work stoppage

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

too big to care?

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A detailed Citizen Matters report in the matter may be accessed here.

And, if one were to expect the builder to back out at least at this stage, lo and behold, on the contrary, he speeds up the job, as per this post by a member in the "saveKoramangala" yahoo-group:

For those who think that Mantri will actually comply with the Kiadb and Bbmp.

When you have a project promoter who openly declares that orders from Govt agencies like Kiadb and Bbmp are only "advisory" in nature and that he is under no obligation to follow the law, dont hold your breath.

We have heard of "too big to fail". Well now we have "too big to care" ! So the reaction we expected from Mantri is to accelerate construction. When Kiadb asked them to stop earlier they responded by doubling the JCBs working on site. The aim is simple. Create a superstructure and 3rd party rights muddy the litigation waters and try to outspend everyone and win.

Sure enough have just received word that upon receiving orders from the Bbmp to stop, flood lights have increased the vehicles on site have increased and work has picked up on site! This is current as of 15 minutes ago.

What if we get all the orders we want , from the Govt, from the courts , and we cant get a single order implemented?  That is not a hypothetical. This is what could well be shaping up.

Is there still a Government in Karnataka?  Or is Mr Sushil Mantri and those of his ilk now the head of all 3 branches of government? Sure looks like it!  Wonder why we even bother voting! !

Very valid questions indeed.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

citizen's protest

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Some 1,500 Bangaloreans, who gathered on Sunday to protest mega projects coming up in the Bellandur Lake catchment area at Agara, had a strong statement to make: Any project, be it government or private, shouldn’t move ahead without consulting residents of the neighbourhood. Further, the government needs to adopt a sustainable model in the city’s development.

For the full report in the ToI, click here

a view of the massive protest:

 

Pipeline to convey 150 million litres/ month?:

Muralidhar Rao
Sanjeev's picture

govts at Karnataka failed to protect

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Sorry to see previous govt and current govt at GOK have failed to protect bangalore enivronment and JNNRUM is beeing pushed to build more SWD arround Koramanagal by the Bangalore incharge minister.

Same situation, if we had lake arround majestic area,  Mysore road Anjaneya Temple would bee flooded even for small 20mm rain.    Bangalore central has lost all lakes for conceret development and now its outskerts of Bnagalore in firing line.

Will young MLAs of Banglore, its your future, do have any interest to save Bangalore or save yourself???  Its unfortunate that any educated elected reps will not be able to save Bangalore unless they have will and care  for Bangalore

murali772's picture

unsavoury goings on

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Post by a member of the organising committee in "savekoramangala yahoo-group":

Now that the event is over, I would like to share some information.

Throughout yesterday, upto even 10 PM at night, Mantri tried every dirty trick in the book to try to get Police to cancel permission for the event. From calling on high police officials, threatening them with contempt of court charges, and yes -- even threatening to unleash goondas on us, the total sordid story needs to be told.

If it were not for an upright police officer who refused to bend and told them to go to hell, they may well have prevailed yesterday. We still have police officers of integrity in our Police Department. All power to them.

Can anyone sink lower ? Our message to Mantri has to be clear -- that we will stand firm in the face of tactics that are better suited to the gutter than the boardroom.


I have generally sought to differentiate the ways of Corporates as the using "lobby" power to change laws to suit them (even if against overall public interest), but generally playing by it thereafter, as compared to the "mafia" who can't bother with laws whatsoever. And, my thinking has been that given the current vibrancy of our democracy, with the Civil Society and the media playing an active watch-dog role, we are better off dealing with the lobbyists. But, all that is in the supposition that the lobbyists do not turn mafioso.

The country's economy needs to grow considerably if we are to help the huge sections of population to rise above the poverty line that they are currently under. And, there are enough avenues open for growth and enough ways of going about it with minimum damage to the environment. What is required of Corporates is to work transparently, taking people into confidence, rather than going about things stealthily. If not, conflict becomes inevitable.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

NGT stays construction

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The National Green Tribunal, Chennai, in a case filed by Bangalore Environment Trust, Praja-RAAG and Forward Foundation has given a stay on further construction opposite Agara lake by both Mantri Techzone and Coremind.

Furtherance of any construction activity at the site now will amount to contempt of court.

Muralidhar Rao
amithpallavoor's picture

I hate to cuss words but I

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I hate to cuss words but I feel like using it against Mantri. 

murali772's picture

update

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The following is the text of an update on the subject made by a member of the organising committee in "savekoramangala yahoo-group":
 
Those following the issue will be aware of the fact that the National Green Tribunal, Southern Bench, Chennai in April this year stayed all further work on the project. Although there would appear to have been sporadic violations of the stay by Mantri, the work has stayed halted, by and large for the last 6 months.
 
All of a sudden, on the 17th of September, the Southern Bench of the NGT recused itself from this case for reasons that have yet to be ascertained. It is particularly perplexing in view of 8 months having passed from the time the case started getting heard. Readers may draw their own conclusions as to what happened and who was responsible.
 
The case is now before the Principal bench of the NGT in Delhi, and the next hearing is listed for 7th November. The interim stay order given in April continues. 
 
A separate PIL filed in the Karnataka High Court continues with its focus on other violations of law and process, while the NGT concentrates on the environmental violations.
 
In the meantime, today, citizens noticed Mantri openly re-starting work at the site in violation of the interim stay orders. We were forced to file a complaint before the jurisdictional police at HSR Police Station this evening.
 
We hope all of you continue to support this cause vigorously. Preserving Bellandur lake is a cause worth fighting for and I am sure all of you will step up to the plate if and when the need arises.
 
Muralidhar Rao
amithpallavoor's picture

I think the time has to come

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I think the time has to come to have these chaps apprehended. Every lake shall be encroached if these builders are allowed to have their way.

amithpallavoor's picture

The next case that needs to

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The next case that needs to be fought is against the Tatas' project, which is choking Hoskerhalli Lake. 

 

So called ethical company!

Sanjeev's picture

City realtors fined Rs 140 cr for green norm violations

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The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday imposed Rs 139.85 crore fine on two City-based realtors for executing projects in violation of environmental norms near Bellandur and Agara lakes.

The NGT principal bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar found prima facie evidence and ordered that “Mantri Techzone Pvt Ltd is liable and shall pay a sum of Rs 117.35 crore, while CoreMind Software and Services Pvt Ltd shall pay a sum of Rs 22.5 crore, which is 5 per cent of the project cost, as penalty.”

The judgment was delivered after hearing petitions filed by several citizen welfare groups from Koramangala, HSR Layout and Bellandur in Bengaluru.

The firms have to pay the fine within two weeks from Thursday to the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) and the amount should be kept by the KSPCB in a separate account.

“The amount should be spent for environmental and ecological restoration and other measures to be taken to rectify the damage resulting from default and non–compliance of law by the project proponent in that area, after taking approval of the tribunal,” stated the order.

http://www.deccanherald.c...

Sanjeev's picture

Residents' groups hail green tribunal order on Mantri

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The historic judgment of the National Green Tribunal imposing a hefty penalty on Mantri Techzone Private Limited and Coremind Software and Service Private Limited brought smile on the faces of the residents’ groups which had fought the case tooth and nail.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Vijayan Menon of the Citizens' Action Forum (CAF), who was instrumental in the decisive battle against the Mantri Developers, said he was elated with the order.

He said he is yet to go through the order but he feared that there were any strictures passed against the government agencies. Menon said: “The government should not have allowed such things to happen in the first place. If the government was alert these issues would not have come up.”

The CAF, the consortium of 150-odd residents' welfare associations, the Namma Bengaluru Foundation, First Forward and Praja had come together to fight this case. Anticipating that the firms may approach the Supreme Court, the CAF and others have decided to file a caveat so that in the event of challenging the NGT order, these groups should be alerted and allowed to be party in the case.

When contacted, Renuka of Mantri Developers said the firm would not react to it right now as it has not got the copy of the order.

http://www.deccanherald.c...

Efforts of Vijayan & Murali with CAF & others has resulted this and its long battel which Govt has failed to protect the Lakes. 

In these CM & Bangalore Incharge Minister should own responsibility ???  Why elected MPs r keeping quite ???

 

Sanjeev's picture

NGT asks state to clear buffer zone of lakes

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In a landmark judgment, the Principal Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), New Delhi, directed the Karnataka government to demolish all existing construction falling within buffer zones of lakes and Rajakaluves (feeder canals of lakes) in Bengaluru.

The bench directed the government to increase the buffer zones and ensure that no further construction takes place in such areas. The buffer zone of lakes has been enhanced from 30 metres to 75 metres. The revised buffer zone for the Rajakaluves is 50 metres, 35 metres and 25 metres for primary, secondary and tertiary canals respectively. The NGT also ordered that the buffer zone around Rajakaluves should  be measured from the edge and not from the middle.

If implemented in toto, the order will lead to the demolition of large number of buildings all over the City and displacement of lakhs of people.

The ruling came in the wake of a petition by the Namma Bengaluru Foundation (NBF) and other Residents' Welfare Associations (RWAs) in connection with the encroachment of the wetland of Agara and Bellandur lakes in the City by Mantri Tech Zone Private Limited and Coremind Software and Services Private Limited.


Hefty penalty

In view of various illegalities in the execution of a large project coming up at the ecologically sensitive wetland between Agara and Bellandur lakes, the NGT confirmed a fine of Rs 130.5 crore on Mantri Tech Zone and Coremind.

While Mantri has been fined Rs 117 crore, Coremind Software will have to pay Rs 13.5 crore. The NGT had earlier slapped a fine of Rs 139.85 crore on the two firms, prompting the affected parties to approach the Supreme Court (SC). While staying the order, the SC had referred the case back to the tribunal to decide the pleas on merit. The fresh NGT order gave a relief of Rs nine crore to Coremind Software and Rs 35 lakh to Mantri Developers.


The NGT also quashed the environmental clearances given to the firms and stayed the construction of the project till the time the developers obtain fresh clearance. It has directed the developers to restore the 3 acre 10 guntas of encroached lake bed area immediately to the authorities. It ordered the State Environmental Impact Assessment Agency (SEIAA) to amend the environmental clearance of both the project proponents and allow all further construction under the monitoring of SEIAA.

Also, the Karnataka government has been directed to submit a proposal demarcating wetlands within four weeks to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) after which the same shall be notified.

There is a combined direction to remove the debris deposited in the feeder canals (Rajakaluve) within four weeks, failing which Lake Development Authority (LDA) will undertake the cleaning and the cost will have to be borne by the two builders. SEIAA has also been directed to prepare a muck-disposal plan within three months.

Hailing the order, the founder trustee of NBF and Rajya Sabha member Rajeev Chandrasekhar said it will help restore lakes and Rajakaluves (feeder canals), which are falling prey to land sharks. He said the government has to play a proactive role in restoring the water bodies instead of regularising the illegal constructions in the name of Akrama Sakrama.

When contacted, Mantri Developers said, “We are yet to receive the order copy and can comment only after we get the same.”



What is a buffer zone of a lake?

Buffer zones are natural vegetated area along a lake, river or stream. They are meant to provide natural filtration of these water bodies and protection against flooding or swelling of rivers, lakes and streams.

* Buffer zones of lakes and Rajakaluves increased
* All structures on buffer zones to be demolished
* Buffer zone for lakes will be 75 metres
* Buffer zones for primary, secondary and tertiary canals will be 50 m, 35 m and 25 m respectively
* The buffer zone around Rajakaluves to be measured from  edge
* Order may lead to demolition of thousands of buildings and displacement of people
* Fine of Rs 130.5 crore on Mantri-Coremind confirmed
* Builders accused of encroaching on Bellandur wetland between Agara and Bellandur
* Ruling based on Namma Bengaluru Foundation's petition in Bellandur lake case

http://www.deccanherald.c...

Thanks to all those who put efforts and  ensured that law catches up.

Thanks Vijayan, Murali and Rajeev Chandrashekar

srinidhi's picture

finally press attention on Bellanduru/Varthuru lake encroachment

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in DH today:

murali772's picture

importance of flood-plains

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A very similar situation in Pune (check here), ending again with NGT ordering restoration.

The video graphically brings out the hazards that can result out of tampering around with flood-plains - a must see for all.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

developments as of 8th Aug

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Developments as of 8th Aug on the Bellandur flood-plains 'development' controversy, as informed by a core team member:

Yesterday was a day of hectic developments in the Mantri-Coremind Case.

At the NGT:
LDA had petitioned NGT to allow construction of play equipment, STPs and all other supporting infrastructure in buffer zones. The NGT refused to entertain the application and said LDA would need to come with extensive data as to what kind of STPs, where , how much water, how much water required for the corresponding lake and alternatives if any.

LDA withdrew their application in the face of the adverse comments by the bench. Existing NGT buffer total ban continues.

At the Supreme Court:
Coremind produced L1 to argue its case. Citizens were represented by a legal team led by L2.

Takeaways:
1. A bunch of builders had approached the Karnataka High Court challenging the powers of the NGT to amend buffer zones. Supreme Court orders Karnataka High Court to transfer all such cases to the Supreme Court
2. Coremind plea for stay of penalty granted. Plea for stay of order denied.
3. Supreme Court refuses to stay demolition. Asks Coremind to demolish the illegal structures themselves
4. Supreme Court directs all builders to stop building in the 75 metre lake buffer and new drain buffers immediately
5. Taking suo moto notice of the havoc wrought by flooding in Bangalore and the ongoing demolitions, Supreme Court says demolitions should continue and they will refuse to grant any stay to any party which attempts to stay them.

What has been achieved:
1. Builders attempts to challenge at the Karnataka High Court have been blocked. Those wanting to challenge will now have to go to the Supreme Court.
2. CJI totally unsympathetic to the building lobby -- bodes well for the final judgement.
3. No further constructions by Mantri and Coremind
4. A directive to Govt to demolish Mantri and Coremind offending structures -- advice from Court -- "please demolilsh it yourself" !

PS: Not wanting to name the lawyers, we are referring to them as L1, L2, etc.

Muralidhar Rao
MaheshK's picture

Catches fire again

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Bellandur lake caught fire again yesterday bringing back memories of last year May. When will our authorities wake up?  IMO, the chemicals may build up in time and there would be a huge explosion with fire with toxic smoke everywhere. I hope the residents around are aware of the potential scenario. 

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