Q: “We are a group of people interested in protecting lakes and wildlife of Bannerghatta National Park (BNP). We noticed that a lake is encroached near Kaleshwari village, Mantapa Grama panchayat, Bangalore 560083. Also, a new layout is coming up in the safe zone of BNP, and they are planning to release sewage water to the lake and drainage water to the stream, which passes through the heart of BNP. This Lake is the main water source for the wildlife of BNP. How can we protect this lake and wildlife of BNP?”

Asked by K.P. Shankara

Answer from Praveen Bhargav, Wildlife First:

Dear Shankara,

Thanks for writing to CI and good to learn about your interest to protect Bannerghatta National Park. You could possibly initiate the following steps:

  1. You should meet the Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Executive Officer, Karnataka Lake Development Authority,2nd Floor, Parisara Bhavana, Chruch Street, Bangalore-560 001 and seek immediate action to stop the encroachment.
  2. Other authorities who can stop encroachment are – The Superintendent of Police Bangalore Rural or the Local Police Inspector; Or the Deputy Commissioner Bangalore Urban/Rural.
  3. With regard to the sewage issue, you could meet the Chairman, Pollution Control Board whose office is also in the same building as the Lake Development Authority.
  4. You can also meet the Deputy Conservator of Forests, Bannerghatta National Park whose office is located in Bannerghatta.

Irrespective of whom you decide to approach, you must have a proper documentation of the encroachment – preferably photos or google earth views before and after, which establish the allegation, official documents or maps to show that the lake existed, press reports if any that have highlighted this issue. These must be appended to a letter that you must submit which contains a specific demand for action to stop the encroachment immediately. The letter must be sent by Registered Post Acknowledgment Due.

If none of these measures work, you can file a writ petition (PIL) before the High Court or initiate a criminal case against the encroachers by filing a private complaint under Sec 200 of the CrPC before the Judicial Magistrate First Class Anekal (please confirm if that is the jurisdictional court) since it appears to be a violation of Sections 277, 430, 432 of the Indian Penal Code.

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