Slum Board encroaches Mallasandra Lake!

BENGALURU: The 16-acre Mallasandra Gudde Lake in Jalahalli West is fast turning into an eyesore and may soon start catching fire like the infamous Bellandur Lake. This despite funds being released for its development. The lake has also been encroached by the Slum Clearance Board and private individuals, who have been constructing houses on the lakebed for the last six months.

About 1.5 acres of the lakebed has been covered with construction debris and 30 houses have already been built – 15 by the Slum Board and 15 by private parties. Mr Lokesh, the local corporator, said, “I have repeatedly written to Slum Board officials, but the construction is going on unabated.”

The government has sanctioned Rs 5 lakh per house and the Slum Board has already wasted Rs 75 lakh of public money, he said. “The day this issue is taken up seriously, these illegal constructions will be demolished. Who will own responsibility for the waste of public money,” he asked.

He said a private trust had encroached 10,000 sqft of the lakebed and had started constructing a mosque. Dasarahalli MLA Manjunath asked the authorities to conduct a survey and sort out the issue. But he did not follow it up, a local resident said.

Another resident said, “There seems to be a lack of coordination between the two political representatives, as the corporator belongs to the BJP and the MLA to the JD(S)."

Repeated calls to MLA Manjunath went unanswered.

Before the encroachment, the lake already faced a number of issues, and was divided by a road. The water body was fenced only after protests by local residents.

The government has released Rs 3 crore in the last four years and another Rs 5 crore this year. But as there is no development of the water body, the residents have decided to save the lake themselves by doing 'Shramadan'.

BBMP using lake as garbage dump

A volunteer, M. Gurunandan Rao, said, “The problems faced by local residents have been conveyed to local authorities since 2015, but no action has been taken."

He said, “Some of the issues were sorted out only after the residents, NGOs and lake activists protested. After the Namma Bengaluru Foundation intervened, the release of water from apartments around Mallasandra and Shettyhalli stopped.”

But BBMP trucks continue to dump waste into the lake and the garbage is also set on fire. “Fumes choke Mallasandra and Shettyhalli, and it was brought to the notice of officials, but no action was taken. In fact, the pollution is only getting worse. Also dumping of construction debris continues unabated,” Mr Rao said.

“The lake is still under BDA, but in the 2019 budget, BBMP was sanctioned Rs 5 crore to develop the lake. But officials don’t know who will carry out the works,” Mr Rao said.

Corporator Lokesh said, “Last year, it was decided at a BBMP Council meeting that 28 lakes will be transferred by the BDA to the BBMP. The handing over procedure is finalised and soon, lakes will have fencing and will also see development works.”

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