Yelachenahalli lake
Yelachenahalli lake is facing encroachment and fake documents are being used to take over, says local civic bodyGoogle Earth

A government land near a lake in Bengaluru has reportedly been encroached upon using a fake survey sketch which was then signed and bears the seal of a tahsildar. This land is part of the buffer zone set aside by the government surrounding the Annayyappa lake at Yelachenahalli, Bengaluru.

While the forgery and wrongly drawn sketches have been proved, a Deccan Herald report says that till date, the officials responsible are yet to face any legal action. The Lancha Mukta Karnataka Nirmana Vedike first noticed this in 2015 when two types of land grabbing were noted. The first was the taking over of a footpath, the only approach to the about one acre of land set aside for the lake, and second, the issued building sanctions that took up over 30 metres of the buffer land.

The Vedike is reported to have filed two separate complaints to the assistant executive engineer at Yelachenahalli. The second complaint was placed before the joint director (Town Planning) of BBMP and then the Bangalore Metropolitan Task Force (BMTF) after the first complaint did not work. Both complaints, notes the report, were joined and an enquiry was started.

"We kept enquiring BMTF about our complaint in 2016, 2017 and 2018. In September, it gave us an endorsement that the complaint has been closed after obtaining materials from the officials concerned," said VR Marathe, president of the Vedike.

Marathe added that they had to repeatedly write to them asking why the complaint was closed. "We were given a copy of a sketch allegedly issued by the tahsildar. The sketch moved the kaaludari to a different side," he said.

The sketch in question was reportedly issued in April, and seeing this, the Vedike brought it up with the tahsildar's office as well as the Joint Director of Land Records (JDLR).

"Both the tahsildar's office and the survey department confirmed that the sketch was a forged one. So much so that the signature does not match with any of the officials in the department," alleges Marathe.

In spite of the authorities knowing that sketches and signatures were faked, no action was taken on them, he adds. "...we again wrote to the JDLR and tahsildar requesting them to initiate criminal proceedings. In case they don't take action, we will file a criminal complaint."

Marathe was allegedly told by a few officials that the government now intends to change the footpath and the way it is positioned to accommodate the encroaching builder. "The procedure is called Patha Badalavane, which in this case, will authenticate the forged document,'' Marathe said.

As for the buffer land where 30 metres of it was allegedly taken over by the builders, the Vedike claims that when the sanctioning was originally done, BBMP said that the construction was in fact, taking over the buffer land. A fresh survey conducted in 2017, says the report, where the construction was somehow found to be within the buffer zone.