Over the last 2 years, concerned citizens have tried to get the government to enforce the rule of law and stop the massive illegal construction opposite Agara lake by the builder consortium that include Mantri and Salarpuria.
– Ignoring zoning regulations declaring the land as sensitive.
– Rampant misstatements and untruths presented to get specific clearances from BWSSB, BESCOM and Fire Dept.
– Lack of sufficient environmental clearance.
– Irreversible changes to topography of the land in an adverse manner to downstream lakes
– While BWSSB cannot provide water to most of existing communities in this locality citing unavailability of water, they have given approval to this massive construction which requires 150 million liters per month.
What’s at stake for us?
1. The project involves commitment of huge amounts of water to the two projects. Both projects together will use close to 180 million litres of water a month. That much water is not supplied by BWSSB at present to the entire Koramangala, HSR and Bellandur areas together.
2. There is a real threat of floods and back flows effecting Koramangala and HSR areas because the natural flood plains of Bellandur wetlands will be destroyed by this project.
3. Construction on the wetland leading to Bellandur will adversely affect Bellandur lake and in the worst case situation lead to drying up of the lake itself.
Where is the proof for the alleged violations ?
1. The dangers have been vividly brought out by the report published by the Centre for Ecological Studies, IISc which recommended immediate scrapping of the project. Link to the detailed report :
2. An inspection carried on July 16, 2013m MOEF observed that the project “will necessarily result in some alteration of the natural sloping pattern of the project site and the natural hydrology of the area and hence the specific condition cannot be complied.“
3. The Lake Development Authority has inspected the site and recommended cancellation of the project, quoting “the development project by KIADB will have adverse effect on the water that flows to Bellandur lake”.
What have we done so far ?
[in reverse chronlogical order]
June 7, 2015
* Subsequently to build further public support, another protest event was organized on the 7th June 2015. Residents from HSR layout, koramangala, Bellandur, Sarjapura Road, Marathahalli and many other places gathered in support of the cause. There was a huge turnout and it was covered by all leading newspapers.
* Towards the end of the event the gathering was addressed by honorable MLA of Bommanahalli Shri Satish Reddy who extended his full support for the cause. We also received support from across the party lines – Ms Kavitha Reddy, Ms Latha Murthy also extended their full support.
Months after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) levied an exorbitant Rs 140 crore fine on builders Mantri Techzone and Coremind Software for encroaching upon the catchment area of Bellandur Lake, nearly 800 residents of Bellandur, HSR Layout and Koramangala staged a protest near Agara Lake on Sunday. During the protest, organized by South East Bangalore Forum for Sustainable Development, the members urged the Ministry of Environment and Forests to cancel the clearances accorded to the project promoters. The protesters also wanted the government to cancel the environmental clearances given to the builders.
May 20, 2015
* The builders have contested the fine in the supreme court. Supreme court has currently stayed the fine. However construction cannot proceed and will continue to remain suspended.
May 9, 2015
The case came up for hearing in NGT Delhi. The court ruled the builders as guilty of intentional violations and they have been fined a whopping Rs 140 crore for damaging the environment ! This is a big shot in the arm for the residents who have been fighting this case for almost 2 years now.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has imposed a fine of Rs139.85 crore on Mantri Tech Zone Pvt Ltd and Coremind Software and Services Pvt Ltd for “illegal and unauthorized” construction in the vicinity of the Agara lake in violation of environmental laws.
The tribunal specifically directed Mantri and Coremind not to pass the fine on to their consumers as the liability is a result of their own intentional defaults, disobedience of law in force and carrying on project activities and construction illegally and unauthorized.
May 2, 2015
Bellandur lake catches fire !!
Ignoring the pollution and encroachment of the city’s biggest lake, Bellandur, could be disastrous, as dramatically brought out by the toxic foam in downstream Varthur lake recently. Can a revival project monitored by the High Court make a change?
Dec 07, 2014
* After several months, the bench suddenly declared a recusal for reasons unknown, which is extremely rare. There is an allegation that there was pressure brought to bear on the judiciary by the builder.
* The case was moved to the NGT Principal Bench in Delhi. Preliminary hearing took place on the 17th/18th of December in NGT Delhi. Next hearing has been scheduled for the 7th January 2015. Why has a case that deals with an issue in the southern region (which jurisdictionally should be heard in the Chennai NGT court) been moved to Delhi? Does Mantri have some influence on courts in Delhi?
The petition was being heard by the NGT in Chennai for the past nine months. It had to be shifted as the judicial member Justice M Chockalingam and expert member Prof R Nagendran have recused themselves from hearing the matter. Although the petitioners smell a rat about the matter being shifted to New Delhi, they say that they are gathering funds to fight the case.
May 5, 2014
However many passersby have reported that construction continued to happen at the site, which if true would be a violation of the court order and would amount to contempt of court.
Construction activities are allegedly being carried out on the Bellandur-Agara lake bed in violation of the stay order granted by the National Green Tribunal.
Based on the above a contempt case has been filed before NGT and a criminal complaint filed against the builders in the HSR Police station, which is the jurisdictional police station. Why has no action been taken on the builder by the jurisdictional police?
April 26, 2014
Initially the case was heard by NGT Southern Bench Chennai, which granted an interim stay and cited prima facie evidence of violations.
The tribunal had also noted that the said construction would there is a prima facie case made out by the petitioners with regards to damage to environment, change of topography of the area and impeding the flow of rain water to the lakes.
March 23, 2014
We organized a protest at the site of construction. Around 1,500 citizens from different parts of Bengaluru turned up to support and participate in the event. This has helped us raise significant awareness in the neighbourhood, as well as media attention.
24 Dec 2013
Based on the concerted effort from various citizen groups, the honorable court of Upa Lokayukta directed BBMP to stop construction. When Justice Adi enquired about the type of construction, he was told it was an IT park. Justice Adi asked: “How can an IT park be called as an industry? How can hospital, education centre, hotel, residential and commercial complex be included in IT activities?”
KIADB representative was unaware of the IISC report’s findings and recommendations on the wetland. He said, “Had I known about it, I would have taken action long back.”
It all started in 2012 when a civil engineer, wondered why the excess rain water was not flowing through the storm water drains and was, instead, being thrown back into the lanes of Shrinivagilu, his neighbourhood. As the rains started pounding, he actually witnessed the reverse process and water started entering houses. A quick probe by him and his friends led to the startling revelation that the wetlands between ST lake and Bellandur were being levelled by a builder.
Who are we?
We are citizens of Bellandur, HSR layout and Koramangala working closely with Government, involved in various community initiatives which include the following :
1. Rejuvenating lakes in Bangalore
2. Town Planning
3. Assisting in Traffic Management
4. Filing RTIs and writ petitions
5. Alerting communities that concern them at local level
For more details, please visit the facebook group “Reclaim Bengaluru”
Our request to concerned citizens :
Please sign the petition :https://www.change.org/p/karnataka-govt-please-stop-agara-sez?recruiter=31857103&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=share_facebook_responsive&utm_term=des-lg-petition_update-custom_msg&fb_ref=Default#petition-letter
We are on a huge uphill battle against real estate big wigs with very deep pockets. Fight we must. For our right to drinking water. And to save Bellandur Lake.