Whitefielders to file PIL following BBMP’s nonchalance

City Environment

The civic body’s negligence over the encroachment of Pattandur Agrahara Lake in Whitefield has led the residents of ECC road to file a PIL by the end of this week.

Bangalore, March 15, 2018: In a direct violation of National Green Tribunal’s rules, BBMP has been attempting to build a road that connects Varthur Kodi to ITPL in Pattandur Agrahara Lake in Whitefield due to which residents of ECC Road are going to file a Public Interest Litigation by the week end.

This 80 feet road, said Sandeep Anirudhan, a resident and activist of the area, violates the National Green Tribunal (NGT) rules on grounds that there can be no construction around lakebed and lake buffer zones.

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike had been trying to level parts of the lakebed by dumping debris, which was met with a series of protests in February of 2018.

Earlier this month, BBMP Commissioner orally assured us, that all work will be stopped until the area is evaluated and checked for violations, said Anirudhan.

However, Akash Varia, a resident of the area stated that the number of trucks that have been dumping cement and debris in the lakebed and buffer zones have increased in the last one week.

“I have spotted and clicked pictures of trucks unloading debris in the lakebed around 3 am in the morning on weekends,” added Varia.

Meanwhile, Jayashankar Reddy, Executive Engineer of BBMP denied all claims of continuation of illegal dumping in the lakebed and stated that all work has been stopped. He further said that they are awaiting legal counsel, post which they are going to decide what their next move will be.

Sandeep Anirudhan who has been very vocal about this issue right from when it started in September of 2017 said that it is the duty of the authorities to conserve the lake and not destroy it.

“Building an 80 feet road on a lakebed is a direct violation of NGT rules,” explained Mr Anirudhan.

The NGT states that no new construction can take place within 75 meters of the lake boundary in Bangalore. “This road that the BBMP has commissioned is in conflict with the NGT rules,” added Sandeep.

Save Pattandur Lake and Whitefield Rising, two independent Facebook groups who have been spearheading this movement online, on Monday, posted videos shot by residents of trucks dumping debris in the area and workers trying to level the road.

Sandeep said that they have received tremendous support from the residents who are equally interested in saving the natural ecosystem in their area.

A part of this once-lush 13 acre lake has either been reduced to marsh lands or has become barren said Sandeep.

Both Akash Varia and Sandeep said that the PIL is going to be filed by the end of this weekend on behalf of the residents against all the officials who have been violating the norms. “The PIL, with the help of lawyers have already been formed, we are yet to file it, which is still in process,” added Sandeep.

Santosh (name changed),a resident of the area who has been staying there for 20 years and an active volunteer for Whitefield rising said that for over 10 years he has been cycling around the lake and bird-watching.

Moreover, he added that the prime focus of the citizens is to have the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) fence off the existing lake which is going to protect against not only encroachment but also dumping of garbage which has become a menace.

Rakesh Singh, Bangalore Development Authority Commissioner said that the residents have been demanding fencing the area. “The fencing work is to start in the next week’s time,” added Singh.