Karnataka: Repeal of Lake Act upsets green activists
Bengaluru: Environmentalists have more cause for friction with the recent repeal of the Karnataka Lake Conservation Development Authority act and the decision to transfer the custody of Bengaluru’s ailing lakes to the minor irrigation department. This has been touted as a violation of the 74th Amendment of the Constitution, which empowers local government bodies. Mr Ram Prasad, co-founder, Friends of Lakes said, “Former PM Rajiv Gandhi worked hard to formulate the act. KLCDA needs to be strengthened since they have done a fantastic job in the past.” He added that the KLCDA will be better off under the environment ministry, as opposed to the irrigation ministry for which it is currently intended.
The KLCDA has received flak since its inception, as it has never been strengthened in any way. The body scraped by with 14 members although the minimum requirement was 96. “The BBMP has also done an exemplary job as far as lakes are concerned and it should be empowered. If the lakes have to come under one roof, they should do so under the BBMP and funds should be given to the Palike for their development. “Moreover, our city lakes have no connection to irrigation,” Prasad pointed out. A few success stories have come the KLCDA’s way, perhaps raising the outcry against the move to transfer it to the Irrigation Ministry.
The body has been credited with removing encroachers from lake beds and stopping the proposed construction of a road on the tank bed at Doddabommasandra Lake. The amendment states, “It is considered necessary to amend the Karnataka Tank Conservation Development Authority Act, 2014 to strengthen Tank Development Authority and repeal the Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Act, 2014 to transfer all the tanks within the limits of municipal corporations including BBMP to the control of Minor Irrigation and Ground Water Development Department.”