Bengaluru demolition drive: Twenty civic officials among those bookedhttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/bengaluru-demolition-drive-twenty-civic-officials-among-those-booked-2969230/

Bengaluru demolition drive: Twenty civic officials among those booked

The 20 officials, including seven retired persons, have been booked in criminal cases for allegedly sanctioning building plans to people who encroached on drains, resulting in flooding during heavy rain.

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The move comes after the Karnataka High Court refused to stay the demolition drive launched by the civic body and asked the state government to bring to book officials who facilitated the encroachment.

Twenty officials of Bruhath Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) and 10 others were booked Thursday for allegedly facilitating encroachment on stormwater drains in several parts of the city. The Bengaluru Metropolitan Task Force police registered six FIRs on the basis of a complaint lodged by BBMP Commissioner N Manjunath Prasad.

The 20 officials, including seven retired persons, have been booked in criminal cases for allegedly sanctioning building plans to people who encroached on drains, resulting in flooding during heavy rain.

The move comes after the Karnataka High Court refused to stay the demolition drive launched by the civic body and asked the state government to bring to book officials who facilitated the encroachment.

BBMP had cleared more than 100 properties, including residential buildings, in Bommanahalli, Yelahanka and Mahadevapura till Friday. The drive will continue for a few more days and nearly 1,000 properties are slated to be demolished.

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One of the allegations made by affected residents is that BBMP is identifying drains using drawings that are more that 100 years old. BBMP commissioner Prasad has promised to put up GIS maps on the civic body’s website to enable citizens to locate drains and accordingly plan construction. “To clear the confusion regarding revenue maps and location of storm water drains, we have mapped all the properties in the city using GIS technology. We will be putting this in public domain along with a list of encroachers,” Prasad said.

According to BBMP officials, 17 properties in Bommanahalli, 40 in Mahadevapura and more than 100 in Yelahanka have been marked for demolition so far.

Among these properties in Yelahanka is the home of NSG commando Niranjan Kumar, who died in the Pathankot attack.

The property of Niranjan’s family has been marked for a five-metre encroachment on a drain. A pillar to support a first floor room, built during Niranjan’s wedding a few years ago, has encroached on the drain. Niranjan’s family has now sought time from BBMP to remove the encroachment themselves.

“I admit there is a construction on the stormwater drain. They (BBMP) have marked a pillar for demolition. We have requested them for a couple of

days’ time so that we can rectify the construction ourselves. We don’t want BBMP to demolish the structure,” Niranjan’s mother Radha Sivarajan said. She added: “We know rules are the same for all. We have only sought some time.” BBMP officials have said that the request of Niranjan’s family would be considered.

Leader of the Opposition BJP in Assembly, Jagadish Shettar, has said demolishing a portion of Niranjan’s house would be disrespecting him. He has demanded allocation of an alternate house.