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Survey storm-water drains before taking up clearance drive: Mayor

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The Hindu        17.08.2017  

Survey storm-water drains before taking up clearance drive: Mayor

Congress councillor Ganesh Tagargunti raising a point during the monthly council meeting of Hubballi Dharwad Municipal Corporation in Hubballi on Wednesday.Kiran Bakale  

‘Authorities being partisan’ rocks Hubballi-Dharwad Municipal Council meeting

Allegations of authorities being partisan while clearing encroachments over storm-water drains and parks rocked the municipal council meeting here on Wednesday with some disgruntled Congress councillors upset with the municipal commissioner, using the opportunity to make a veiled attack on him.

After the issue was raised by Congress councillor Ganesh Tagargunti, who has been vocal in his criticism of municipal commissioner Major Siddalingayya Hiremath, several other Congress councillors joined him in accusing the authorities of being selective in their drive against encroachments.

However, the prolonged discussion on the issue ultimately ended with a resolution directing the commissioner to clear to all encroachments without any leniency.

During the discussion on the calling attention motion moved by Mr. Tagargunti, the officials failed to provide proper information on the clearance drive and sought time, which angered the councillors. An official of the Town Planning Department clarified that they had no records related to storm-water drains as they were with the Revenue Department.

His reply angered the Congress councillors further, who were waiting to target the municipal commissioner for his recent bold step of demolishing a structure being built by a government department for which the local MLA had performed bhoomi puja. They pointed out that no action had been taken up to clear structures that had come up encroaching upon the storm-water drains. Mr. Tagargunti sought to know how the commissioner was kept in the dark until the construction of the illegal structure was completed up to the ceiling level. He also questioned Mayor D.K. Chavan giving a requisition for construction of a structure on land meant for a park. Although the Mayor admitted his mistake, he said that the corporation never gave permission for the construction.

Responding to the allegations, Major Hiremath clarified that since the department concerned had gone ahead with the construction despite several warnings by the corporation, they were left with no option other than demolishing it as the structure was being built in violation of rules.

The council subsequently discussed the issue of encroachments over storm-water drains and gardens. And ultimately Mr. Chavan issued a ruling directing the officials to conduct survey of storm-water drains with the help of officials of the Department of Survey and Land Records before taking up the clearance drive.


BBMP plans to build road on lake

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The Hindu        10.08.2017  

BBMP plans to build road on lake

The civic body has granted Rs. 8 crore for the construction of a 40 ft asphalted road on the tank bund of Doddabommasandra lake in Vidyaranyapura under the Nagarothana grants.  

The proposed road will be in clear violation of an NGT order that sets buffer zone around lakes at 75 m

Can a tank bund be converted into a pucca asphlated road? The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) thinks so. The civic body has granted Rs. 8 crore for the construction of a 40 ft asphalted road on the tank bund of Doddabommasandra lake in Vidyaranyapura under the Nagarothana grants.

The road, if built, will be in clear violation of the National Green Tribunal order of May 2016, that has set the buffer zone around lakes at 75 m. The road is on the tank bund and is part of the lake, not even its buffer zone, activists have pointed out. The Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Authority (KLCDA) has also taken objection to the road and written to the BBMP, said Seema Garg, CEO, KLCDA. B.V. Sathish, Chief Engineer, Lakes, BBMP, also said that the lakes division was not consulted over the road.

This comes months after the local residents led a vociferous campaign against wetlands adjoining the lake being dumped with silt dug up during rejuvenation in October 2016. It was later revealed that plans were afoot to build a park and an open-air gym, a deviation from the Detailed Project Report (DPR). The plans were later dropped following public outcry.

V. Ramprasad, a local resident and a lake conservation activist, said there were unconfirmed reports of wetlands being filled to build a road to access private lands at the other end of the lake, where an apartment was reportedly coming up.

“Then they claimed plans were to develop a park. But now the agenda is clear. They have got a 40 ft wide road sanctioned in clear violation of the tank bed area. The road seems to be under way only to give access to private lands, which we fear will lead to further encroachment of the lake area,” he said.

Madhuri Subbarao, a resident who led the 2016 campaign, said there were repeated attempts to build the road and it was a clear violation of the DPR for the rejuvenation of the lake.

“We have repeatedly complained to BBMP and KLCDA to no effect,” she said. Local civic officials said the tank bund was used as a traditional walkway to connect Doddabommasandra and Kodigehalli for many decades now and the road was being planned following public demand from the residents of Kodigehalli. The road, if laid, will reduce the distance by over 2 km, the officials said. However, the traditional walkway is less than 15 ft wide which is now being widened by dumping debris to over 40 ft, residents complain.

BBMP Commissioner N. Manjunath Prasad said he would examine the road project again.

“The road appears to be in clear violation of NGT order on buffer zones. I hope BBMP abides by KLCDA directions. If it fails to do so, we will be forced to bring it to NGT’s notice

Sridhar Pabbisetty,

CEO, Namma Bengaluru Foundation, also petitioner on buffer zones before NGT


Civic body plans steps to stop fleecing of customers

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The Hindu        10.08.2017  

Civic body plans steps to stop fleecing of customers

Corporation health wing to conduct inspections at malls

The health wing of the Kochi Corporation, in association with the Legal Metrology Department, will conduct inspections at malls and shopping complexes to find out if customers are charged over and above the Maximum Retail Price (MRP) for packaged food products.

The decision of the civic body to crack down on traders who fleece customers was announced by Mayor Soumini Jain on Wednesday.

“After the joint inspections, the civic body will follow them up,” she said. Deputy Mayor T.J. Vinod and councillors V.P. Chandran and Antony Painuthara said cinema hall owners had been exploiting customers.

Mr. Vinod pointed out that some theatre managements had indiscriminately hiked ticket rates after the implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST).

“Post-GST, the civic bodies have no role in controlling pricing, as taxes are paid online, and tickets need not be stamped by them. This has resulted in huge financial loss on account of entertainment tax. Annually, the Kochi Corporation loses around Rs. 14 crore. It should be compensated,” Mr. Vinod said.

Ms. Jain said the issue would be brought to the notice of the State government.


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