Saturday, May 31, 2008

UB City promoters accused of covering drain

UB City promoters accused of covering drain

Staff Reporter

Officials take action to restore the ‘raja kaluve’

BANGALORE: After facing allegations of footpath encroachment last year, UB City’s promoters have now been accused of covering a “raja kaluve” (big storm water drain) abutting Vittal Mallya Road and selling it along with their own land to a developer for construction of a five-star hotel.

However, the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) thwarted this move following a direction by Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde, and BBMP officials have taken action to restore the “raja kaluve” and remove the structures that have come up on it.

The Lokayukta team, which is looking into the encroachments on Vittal Mallya Road, also received complaints about closing a part of the “raja kaluve” that cuts across Vittal Mallya Road and Kasturba Road. The Lokayukta officials found the “raja kaluve” filled up and underground pipes placed instead. The part of the “raja kaluve” entering the Cubbon Park was also blocked with mud.

“The raja kaluve – a property of the State Government – formed part of the land sold for building a five-star hotel,” Mr. Hegde told The Hindu. The “raja kaluve” is eight metres wide at one end and 22 metres wide at the other.

The Lokayukta team examined the original land records and the agreement between BBMP and UB City developers. “The raja kaluve belongs to the government, but the developers covered it,” Mr. Hegde said.

Mr. Hegde then called a meeting of officials, including BBMP Commissioner S. Subramanya and Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board chairperson Latha Krishna Rau, and directed restoration of the raja kaluve. “We cannot allow alteration in the natural flow of water in the name of development,” Mr. Hegde said.

In February, Mr. Hegde directed the BBMP to remove encroachments on Vittal Mallya Road and restore its original width.

It was found that the BBMP had given approval to the modified plans of UB City given by the developer that showed the width of the road as varying from 13.6 metres to 19.6 metres. The records showed the width of the road varying from 14.65 metres to 21 metres.


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