Failure to remove storm-water drain encroachments caused Bengaluru flooding: Karnataka HC

The Karnataka High Court has stated that the recent flooding in parts of Bengaluru was a result of the municipal corporation’s failure to remove encroachments from waterbodies and storm-water drainage systems.

The court, which has been monitoring efforts to remove the encroachments since 2019, ordered the Karnataka government and the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike on Monday to take immediate steps.

“The city of Bengaluru has faced unprecedented floods and parts of the city were inundated with rainwater. The aforesaid situation has arisen as the BBMP has failed to perform its statutory duties of removal of encroachments,” a bench of acting Chief Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice Vishwajith Shetty said.

The bench referred to a June 18, 2019 order of the court to remove encroachments, and ordered immediate action when informed that the order had not been complied with.

“We direct the authorities of the state government as well as authorities of BBMP to take immediate steps for the removal of all encroachments on storm-water drains immediately and to submit an up-to-date status report and take steps to ensure prevention of dumping of all kinds of waste and other pollutants into storm-water drains in this regard on or before the next date of hearing,” the bench said while posting the matter to next month.

On Monday, the BBMP began removing encroachments in southeast Bengaluru, which witnessed flooding following heavy rain on September 4 and 5. It also listed several IT parks and residential complexes such as Ecospace, Bagamane Tech Park, Epsilon and Divyashree among encroachers of storm-water drains.

Of the 81 private encroachments found on the Begur lake, 33 were removed after notices were issued on July 27. The rest of the encroachments got an injunction order against removal from a district judge on August 4.

The court also summoned a BBMP executive engineer of the Bommanahalli division for failing to provide a compliance report on the removal of encroachments in the Puttenahalli lake.

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