Beware! Don’t build on Raja Kaluve
The BBMP has been on a demolition drive to raze buildings that have been built on Raja Kaluves (storm water drains), including slum dwellings, apartment complexes, schools and commercial establishments. The encroachment on Raja Kaluves and the so called ‘illegally constructed’ buildings have been cited as one of the prime reasons for flooding during heavy rains in the city.
The CDP for Storm Water Drains says, ‘With the growth of the City, the number of lakes has reduced to 64, and small lakes and tank beds have vanished because of encroachment and construction activities. This has resulted in storm-water drains reducing to gutters of insufficient capacity, leading to flooding during monsoon.
Dumping of MSW in the drains comp
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The demolition drive is being lauded by many, as the residents feel that some of these encroachments had come up wantonly and regularly cause problems of flooding in the entire neighborhood during monsoon. Those who will suffer most however will be apartment owners who have bought their apartments from the builders or in second sale, whose homes will now be demolished or affected for no fault of theirs. A few pertinent questions from their side are ‘Why did the civic body not object to these buildings when they were being constructed? How were these sites sold if they were encroachments? Why were they accepting tax all these days?
An inquiry should be instituted into how the then BBMP and the erstwhile CMC officials gave ‘official permission’ to builders for construction on top of the Raja Kaluves. It seems most of the then BBMP officials who seem to have given clearance for construction have either retired or are working in other departments.
Meanwhile, the BBMP has identified hundreds of sites in the city and in some cases issued notices for demolition and clearing the encroachments as per the original Raja Kaluve alignment. This would include several projects of large and small builders alike and would affect the buyers of these apartments.
What needs to be seen however is will the builders give compensation to the apartment owners in case of full/part demolition and if yes, how much will the compensation be. Also, will the apartment owners have any legal recourse in case no compensation is paid?
(The columnist is an entrepreneur and a freelance journalist. You may reach her on firstname.lastname@example.org)
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