Lake demolition encroachment
Representational Image.Creative Commons/Rakesh Soni

A four-year-old legal battle wound up on Thursday when the Bengaluru Urban district administration launched a week-long demolition drive to clear the area surrounding Sarakki Lake of its encroachments.

The land worth ₹ 2,000 crore has been reclaimed. It has 178 houses, 15 temples, seven apartments, a government school, a dental college and hospital, eight petty shops, three playgrounds, a PWD building, and a BWSSB facility that were illegally constructed on it, Deccan Chronicle reported.

The illegal construction was done on 44 acres and 10 guntas of the 82 acres and 24 guntas of the dead water body. The lake covers three areas, Sarakki, Jaraganahalli and Puttenahalli, which include Bengaluru South, Jayanagar, and Bommanahalli assembly constituencies.

In August 2014, the Karnataka High Court issued an order to rid the lake of all the encroachments after hearing a PIL filed by People's Campaign for Right to Water and the local residents' welfare groups.

Nearly 25 earth-movers, trucks, tippers, trackers, and at least 330 officials led by the assistant commissioners of North, South, and Enforcement Department started the demolition work at around 6 pm on Thursday.

"We had prepared for the operation for almost a week and finally we launched. We are also working on an aerial survey of the lake," Bengaluru Deputy Commissioner V Shankar told reporters.

The encroachment polluted the lake water in the remaining areas as sewage and untreated water was dumped into the lake.