It seems Revenue Department of Bengaluru is in a deep sleep as its properties are being encroached right under its nose and there is no action against it. The latest to join the list of encroachers is Lord Swamy Ayyappa.

The Somasundara Palya lake measuring 16.29 acres at Bommanahalli was the life line for villagers of Mangamanpalaya, Somsundarpalaya and surroundings three decades ago. But today the lake is brimming with sewage, and it is crying for protection from the encroachers.

The government body, Karnataka Compost Development Corporation has gobbled over 2 acres of catchment and wetland area, and on another corner, Swamy Aiyappa’s temple has emerged.

"We wanted to revive the lake, and as a first step, the Revenue Department was asked to inspect the land. It was only then the Department realised that its property was encroached upon. However, houses constructed on the site illegally were demolished but fearing contention; the temple was not razed. The Deputy Commissioner and area tahsildar marked the Ayyappa temple under 'C' category and directed the Muzrai department to take over the temple administration," said Kavita Reddy, from Hasiru Mitra, who is also a lake activist.

A resident from the surroundings, Kamesh Rastogi claims that the encroachment was not a day’s plan but happened slowly. "Initially, the temple was situated at a small place, and now it has taken a large space. We had asked the BBMP and Revenue Department to conduct a fresh survey to find out and mark the exact encroached area of the land. Once we mark the area of the lake bund, it should be fenced," he said.

The villagers and residents at Somsundarapalaya say that they have been fighting for the revival of the lake and to clear encroachment from last few years. Their repeated pleas and complaints in this regard have fallen on deaf ears.

The Karnataka Compost Development Corporation which has come up with a project in 16 acres area adjacent to the lake has encroached 2 acres of the land and where they have dumped over tonnes of waste, say residents.

Bommanahalli Zone Joint Commissioner Veerabhardappa said that it was true that their land encroached. He assured to get the land resurveyed and to protect it henceforth.

However, a source from the revenue department has said that few temple authorities have approached the court and filed petitions against the DC’s office stating that suddenly crack down on the temple is causing an inconvenience. Based on the petition, the DC’s office has been asked not reclaim the land in haste.

Tasildhar of Bengaluru South Taluk, Shivakumar told Newsable that notices were issued to temple authority and in return, an application was taken from the temple priest. The same has been sent to muzrai department to take over the temple administration but the department is yet to take any steps. Soon there will be another survey and land will be fenced.

Swaminathan Iyer, the temple priest says he had purchased the land from another source and he was told the land was free from litigation. "There was a small temple and I took over the administration 10 years ago and made it big. That time I was not aware that the temple land falls under lake premises. I have requested the officals to appoint me as the priest as I do not have any other income,"