Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Judiciary takes initiative on saving lakes

Judiciary takes initiative on saving lakes

The Hindu

Legal services authority in touch with various agencies on the need to preserve water bodies

# Judiciary apprehensive that water bodies may vanish after Greater Bangalore is formed
# BDA has offered to take care of all lakes and tanks coming under Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike

BANGALORE: With the civic authorities having failed to preserve and protect the water bodies in and around Bangalore, it is left to the judiciary to save tanks and lakes around Bangalore and its suburbs.

The judiciary is taking interest to ensure that the lakes and tanks that dot the seven city municipal councils (CMCs) and one taluk municipal council that are brought under the ambit of a single corporation are protected.

Increased threat

The amalgamation of these local bodies with the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) and the formation of Bruhut Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has fuelled fears of environmentalists and others about the need for preserving the water bodies.

The judiciary is taking interest so that all the areas, including scores of villages coming under the BBMP, not only get potable water but also take steps to protect the water bodies that come under the erstwhile jurisdiction of the local bodies of Rajarajeshwarinagar, Yelahanka, Byatarayanapura, Bommasandra, K.R. Puram, Mahadevapura, Dasarahalli, Kengeri and even areas surrounding them.

The Karnataka State Legal Services Authority, which functions under the Karnataka High Court, has taken up the task of saving the water bodies and eradicating the problem of contaminated water supply around the four valleys in Bangalore, including Bellandur, Hebbal, Koramangala and Chalaghatta.

The authority has been holding regular meetings with the chiefs of the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB), Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) and the Bruhut Bangalore Mahanagara Palike on ways and means to protect the water bodies around Bangalore.

The KSLSA has been reminding the civic authorities that most tanks and lakes in Bangalore were breached by them to form layouts.

Even water bodies built, maintained or renovated by the British and local leaders such as Millers Tank, Sampangiramnagar tank, Dharmambudhi tank, have been breached.

With the outlying areas coming under BBMP, the pressure on land would increase and the water bodies would become the casualty. Going by experience, the legal authority is determined to take the lead in preserving these water bodies.

The KSLSA, under two senior High Court Judges V. Gopal Gowda and K.L. Manjunath, has asked the civic authorities, particularly the BBMP, about steps to preserve the water bodies. It has asked the civic authorities to come up with a plan.

The BDA has said that it is willing to take care of all water bodies that come under the BBMP. BDA Commissioner M.K. Shankarlinge Gowda has told the authority that he had sent a proposal to the Government on the issue.

The former Environment Secretary and conservationist, Yellappa Reddy, has asked the authorities to consider whether a new wetland zone could come up in Bangalore as had been done in Kolkata.


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