A week ago, when heavy rain hit the silicon capital Bengaluru, Gopalan International School in the Mahadevapura zone was inundated. Today, an excavator machine was at work clawing through the cricket pitch in the school.
The Bengaluru civic body has identified around 700 encroachments on the storm water drains across the city and the officers on ground are ensuring encroachments are cleared soon.
When questioned whether this momentum will continue and if this was not just another eyewash, Mr Srinivas, assistant executive engineer of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, said, “Nobody will be spared, whether the rich or the poor. The school has developed the playground by encroaching upon the storm water drain. About 7.5 metres of the drain is under this playground. And this has gone unnoticed by BBMP officials.”
Gopalan International School was built back in 2010, however the school has denied the charge that it has encroached any land.
“We have not encroached. But just a part of ground is on the storm water drain. We are cooperating with the police and the civic body. The school had reported flooding last week and this time the intensity of the rain was high and the level of the water had also risen in the lake due to which it led to flooding,” said Sunil Kalevar, head group admin, Gopalan Foundation, said.
About 100 metre from the compound wall of this school is Mahaveer Apartment, a part of the apartment has been built on the storm water drain.
NDTV spoke exclusively to the residents of the apartment whose building is likely to be razed in the coming days. Residents blame the nexus between government and builders and demand to know what their fault is.
“If there wasn’t a nexus between the government, bureaucrats and the builders how else the permission was granted for the apartment to be constructed on a storm water drain? The government officials granted permission for the sanction plan and now they are breaking their own rules. We will move the court. We will get a stay order,” Colonel Krishnan, a resident, told NDTV.
HS Singh, a retired deputy tax commissioner and another resident worried about his apartment being razed, said, “All my savings have gone into this apartment. Now we are being told that my apartment is sitting on the storm water drain. We got our documents vetted through a lawyer initially before buying the apartment. What is our fault? Let the government arrange an alternate accommodation for us.”
While citizens question the nexus between the government and the builders, they also hope that the exercise is not just another eyewash.