The protest was to pressure the govt to challenge the division bench verdict before the SC if necessary, with a better defence on why the land should be reclaimed.
BENGALURU: Scores of residents staged a protest near the Sankey Tank lake on Sunday against the construction of a residential complex right next to it, which they feel would come as a death knell to one of Bengaluru’s best-maintained lakes.
The plan to build a 400-apartment complex next to the Sankey Tank has caused alarm, particularly after the state government failed to reclaim the seven-acre land in a case before the High Court last month. In 1967, the land was sold by the erstwhile Mysuru State to the Mysore Industrial and Testing Laboratory (MITL), a subsidiary of Indian Detonators, which later came to be known as Gulf Oil Corporation. The company subsequently handed over the land to the Mantri Group.
“Eight years ago, the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board said no projects can come up in the vicinity of the lake. A careful look at the documents shows that the land was given to MITL for a factory to come up with affordable medicines. The proposed apartment project is just 25 meters from the lake, and it will deplete the lake’s water and water table in the area,” said Sankey Tank Walkers’ Association Dr AR Anand. The protest was to pressure the government to challenge the division bench verdict before the Supreme Court if necessary, with a better defence on why the land should be reclaimed.
HomeShikari’s View – by P.Sunder, CEO
Protecting and conserving our natural lakes and green cover is extremely important to preserve the ecology of the place. It is sad that only citizens are tasked with this important responsibility now. The BBMP and BDA have been lax and have accorded approvals to projects in close vicinity of lakes without proper scrutiny of its impact. There is no point in allowing development and then striking back after a decade with demolition, once all the concerned officials who approved it in the first place have all retired. On the other hand, it is impossible to disallow development on the crux of beauty getting spoiled if all environmental norms have been followed and the approvals given after due scrutiny. What the municipal bodies should focus on is to ensure there is no illegal encroachment or unapproved development near lakes. And that starts with making the approval process transparent and accessible to public. And then they should focus on levying heavy fines or even shutting off power and water to residential / commercial units that pollute lakes and make them toxic. Easier said than done especially when there is no will to do it.