Wednesday, May 28, 2008

High Court asks city lake developers to file statements

High Court asks city lake developers to file statements

Staff Reporter

Leo Saldanha and an NGO file petition against giving three lakes on lease to private parties

They have questioned the unilateral decision of the Lake Development Authority on the issue

BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday directed two private entrepreneurs permitted by the Lake Development Authority to develop some of Bangalore’s lakes to file their statements within a week.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Cyriac Joseph and Justice A.N. Venugopala Gowda asked Biotow and Lumbini Gardens and its Managing Director to file their statements within a week on petitions by Environmental Support Group, a non-governmental organisation, and Leo Saldanha challenging the lease by the Lake Development Authority (LDA) of three of Bangalore’s lakes — Agara, Hebbal and Nagawara — to them.

The NGO and Mr. Saldanha had filed the public interest litigation (PIL) petition questioning the legal framework under which the three lakes were given on lease.

They said in 1976 the National Commission of Agriculture had recommended development of recreational forests and parks in urban areas as everyone could not go to forests and national parks to view wildlife.

In 1985, the Comprehensive Development Plan conceived by the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) envisaged development of 271 acres adjacent to Hebbal Lake as a park.
Expert committee

On June 26, 1985, the State Government constituted an expert committee under the chairmanship of Lakshman Rau to suggest measures to save the existing water bodies in Bangalore.

It said that on December 2, 1985, Bangalore Urban Arts Commission (BUAC), which was subsequently wound up, refused permission to the authorities for setting up a Children’s Theatre Complex adjacent to Sankey Tank as it would pollute the water body apart from causing environmental harm.

The petitioners said the State set up a Lake Development Authority on July 10, 2002, to protect the existing water bodies. However, it unilaterally decided to privatise some of the lakes and tanks around Bangalore and the beneficiaries of this policy were hoteliers and builders.

The petitioners urged the court to stay the notifications relating to the privatisation of the lakes.

The Bench adjourned further hearing on the cases.


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