In what could spell trouble for many tech parks, shopping malls and other high-rise commercial and residential buildings in Bengaluru (Bangalore), a BJP member and former councillor of the city's civic body has alleged large scale building law violations.
N R Ramesh, a former corporator (councillor) of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagar Palike (BBMP) made startling claims on the extent of illegal constructions in India's "Silicon Valley" on Wednesday.
He alleged that 29 of the 53 tech parks in the city and about 2,300 apartments built by 25 prominent builders are on storm water drains (SWDs) to drive home the point that land encroachment in Bengaluru is a problem that goes beyond few homes.
"More than 150 IT-BT firms, 30 malls and multiplexes are within the buffer zone of drains and lakes. Most of the builders have diverted the SWDs," Ramesh told reporters on Wednesday.
He also challenged the number of structures on SWDs as listed by the BBMP; in his view, it was far more than 1,923 and deserved a comprehensive approach.
Ramesh alleged that many members of the Congress are guilty of encroachment in the city and need to be taken to task. The Congress is in power in the state and controls the BBMP along with the JD(S).
A report in the Deccan Chronicle quoted him as saying that Congress members K. J. George, R. V. Devaraj, Shamanur Shivashankarappa and Rajeev Gowda have encroached "drains and buffer zones around lakes."
The recent spell of demolition against illegal encroachments in the city were triggered by floods caused during heavy rains last month. The mess was attributed to buildings constructed over SWDs that disrupted the natural flow of water.
However, the demolition drive has been criticised by some who claim that influential people including builders, politicians and celebrities continue to be let off the hook while gullible residents who allegedly got their building plans approved from corrupt BBMP and BDA officials are being targeted.
The drive was halted during the Independence Day celebrations and resumed on Wednesday.
The extent of the encroachment in the city over the years can be gauged from the fact that Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah claimed recovery of land worth Rs. 52,000 crore in three years as a result of the anti-encroachment drive.