Wednesday, November 05, 2008

No more privatisation of lakes, says High Court

No more privatisation of lakes, says High Court
DH News Service, Bangalore:
The State High Court on Tuesday directed the Lake Development Authority (LDA) not to enter into fresh agreements enabling private parties to own lakes.

A division of the HC bench, comprising Chief Justice PD Dinakaran and Justice VG Sabhapathi, took the State government to task, observing that the government was trying to commercialise lakes by handing them over to the private parties.

The Bench directed the LDA to take a decision regarding steps to be taken to protect lakes and gardens, to preserve beauty of cities, and to maintain ecological balance, within two weeks.

The bench delivered the verdict after hearing a PIL filed by a few environmentalists questioning the order handing over the ownership of Hebbal, Nagavara and Agara lakes to private parties.

At one stage, the bench questioned the LDA as to whether it was a private or government body. The main objective of the Authority is to protect lakes. But lakes have become grounds to breed mosquitoes. The LDA has failed to take any steps though drain water is discharged into the lakes, the Justice observed.

Private parties are spending several crores to develop lakes, but the government has not taken any step. The bench questioned LDA as to what amount had been earmarked in the budget for the protection of lakes.

There are many talented officials in the government who possess tremendous knowledge about preserving lakes, but their talent has not been effectively utilised. Hence, such officials are selling their talent to private parties, the bench noted.

“The government is taking all efforts to prevent citizens from enjoying natural beauty. The Court cannot be a mute spectator to such a development. If allowed to act as per its whims and fancies, the government will soon privatise Cubbon Park and Lal Bagh,” the bench observed.

The bench issued a directive and adjourned the hearing.

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