The Karnataka High Court Monday directed the civic body, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), not to lay tracks for a toy train within 30 metres from the outer boundary of Mallathahalli lake.
A division bench comprising Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice S Vishwajith Shetty issued the direction while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by city-based social worker Geeta Misra.
The bench pointed out that Section 12(3) of the Karnataka Tank Conservation and Development Authority (KTCDA) Act, 2014, prohibits such activities within 30 metres from the outer boundary of the tanks/lakes, and hence the BBMP cannot go ahead with the construction.
While the BBMP argued that the laying of the track was approved by the KTCDA and the state government under Section 12(6) of the Act, the bench said that the construction of the track for a toy train cannot be considered allied works related to the lake within the meaning of Section 12(6) of the Act. “Therefore, it cannot be permitted within 30 metres of the outer boundary of the lake in question,” the bench said.
While the court has permitted the BBMP to work on the diversion of solid waste, leachate/sewage water flowing into Mallathahalli lake by construction of stormwater drain, it has stopped the civic body to take up work related to construction of hanging bridge, a glass house and a pathway bridge unless the court permits.
Last year, the state government announced the rejuvenation of Mallathahalli lake at a cost of a whopping Rs 81 crore. The restoration of the waterbody included the construction of pathway, toy train, and hanging bridge among others.
The BBMP divisional engineer office, Rajrajeshwari Nagar, floated a tender to rejuvenate Mallathahalli lake last year. The officials with the BBMP lakes department later admitted that they were never kept in the loop before the tender was floated.
The lake is spread in an area of 72 acres.