Friday, October 28, 2005

Encroachment of water bodies in Bangalore to be cleared

Encroachment of water bodies in Bangalore to be cleared

Expressing concern over indiscriminate encroachment of water bodies and clogging of drains which added to the woes of people during the recent torrential rains in the city, Karnataka Chief Minister N Dharam Singh today ordered for their immediate clearance.

Singh, who visited Krishnarajapuram, Bommanahalli, Ramamurthy Nagar, Kaveri Nagar, Bhadra layout and Mahadevapura areas, which bore the burnt of the rains, displacing families, took the officials to task for permitting buildings including high-rise ones throwing all norms to the winds.

All these areas come under city municipal councils, Singh told a press conference after a hectic visit and declared "we will take a policy decision soon to clear encroachments." The city has witnessed rains on an unprecedented scale not seen in the last 30 years, he said.

Targeting officials of city municipal councils, Singh blamed them for allowing constructions on tank beds without looking into whether proper licences have been secured from concerned agencies.

"If tank beds shrink, how does the water flow," he asked.

He said an emergency cabinet meeting has been convened this evening to discuss rain-related problems faced by people of the city.

Singh said he spoke to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last night and sought immediate assistance of Rs 500 crore for relief works.

Singh distributed clothes, blankets and interim relief of Rs 1,000 each to those affected by rains. Authorities would be distributing Rs 3,000 more to the affected to help them repair their damaged houses, he said. The city corporation has initiated works on four river valleys in the city to ensure free flow of storm water as a long-term measure at a cost of Rs 800 crore, Singh said.

He said Bangalore city alone needed Rs 100 crore as immediate funds to restore the damage caused by rains and Rs 30 crore has already been released.

Deputy Commissioners of rain-ravaged districts have been directed to take up relief works and provide succour to the affected, he said.

To a question, he dismissed plans by government to seek postponement of zilla and taluk panchayat polls due in December in the wake of the flood situation.

"Yes. There is a need to take up relief works in flood hit areas. It is for the state Election Commission to decide on holding polls. We are not pressing for postponement," he said.

The Commission has notified the calendar of events to conduct polls in two phases in December.


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