Undeterred by a public outcry, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Tuesday directed the city Municipal Corporation to go ahead with the demolition of illegal structures on lakebeds and stormwater drains.
“I have told the BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike) officials not to spare any builder or developer, howsoever influential or powerful, in demolishing their illegal structures on lakebeds or stormwater drains, as we don’t want Bengaluru to turn into Chennai during heavy rains,” Siddaramaiah told reporters here.
Heavy rains on December 2 last year flooded Chennai, leaving behind a trail of death and destruction with several low-lying areas inundated for days due to encroachments and illegal structures on lakebeds and stormwater drains.
Denying the charge by affected residents and corporators that the government was targeting only the poor and middle-class families, the Chief Minister said the demolition drive was against illegal structures blocking the natural flow of rainwater in the suburbs from lakes and drains through feeder canals in the landlocked city.
“If we don’t demolish them (illegal structures) now, the repercussions will be disastrous for everyone, as evident from the overflowing of the Madiwala lake and flooding of several areas in the suburbs from July 28-30,” Siddaramaiah said.
The laidback BBMP has swung into action since August 5 to demolish structures built on lakebeds and stormwater drains in the city’s southern and eastern suburbs, where builders and citizens have built houses, villas and flats with approvals from its officials over the years.
“Action will be taken against civic officials who approved such illegal structures and gave occupancy certificates to secure water and power connections. I have ordered an inquiry to identify the officials, serving or retired,” Siddaramaiah said. Urban Development Department’s Additional Chief Secretary Mahendra Jain will head the inquiry panel to study the files containing approvals, identify the guilty officials and initiate criminal action against them.