The deluge of Bengaluru created a catastrophe to thousands of properties and had put public health at jeopardy. This is primarily due to the rampant encroachment of the city’s public lands and water bodies.
Recent media reports have revealed that the Government has recovered about 15,833 acres out of the land grabbed by encroachers within BBMP limits. However, the same reports suggest that the administration plans to use the land recovered to dole out election sops!
As per a report to the government in 2007 by Joint Legislature Committee chaired by AT Ramaswamy, approximately 4,00,000 acres of Karnataka’s government land, especially 1,65,796 acres of forest land, of which 1,04,497 acres in ecologically sensitive Western Ghats in three districts alone was under encroachment.
The Task Force For Recovery of Public Land and It’s Protection committee chaired by V Balasubramanian in its report stated that an estimated 27,336 acres of land was illegally encroached within the Bengaluru Urban District.The report also observes that the land grabbing is by powerful builders and land mafia with the active involvement of government and its officials. The government claims that it has recovered 15,833 acres only within BBMP limits. The discrepancy between these two numbers is a huge mystery.
Namma Bengaluru Foundation along with United Bengaluru has demanded that the state Government release details regarding land encroachment
HS Doraiswamy, freedom fighter and activist said that “The government had accepted AT Ramaswamy’s report on the government land encroachment but has not taken any action on the encroachers in spite of court directions. The government should not join hands with the builders and give the land away for profit.
Sridhar Pabbisetty, CEO, Namma Bengaluru Foundation said, “As per V Balasubramanian’s report, 27,336 acres of government land is under encroachment in the BBMP limits of which only 15,833 acres have been recovered. Why the government is hesitating to recover their own land?”
Suresh NR, Convener, United Bengaluru said, “The government is the only trustee of public assets and money. All the encroached lands belong to the public and not to any individual in the government. Many reports have been submitted to the government on this issue, but all these reports are safely hidden in their cupboards. The government should be accountable for the public land.”