Minister for Minor Irrigation C.S. Puttaraju on 3rd July said that all steps would be undertaken to rejuvenate lakes across the State. Replying to the concerns expressed by members on encroachment of lakes, he said, “…29,623 lakes across the State…” come under the Minor Irrigation Department and the government is committed to protecting them and clearing encroachments.
In February, the State government handed over even lakes in Bengaluru, some of which are in deplorable condition, to the Minor Irrigation Department and repealed the Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Authority Act, two years after the Siddaramaiah government had brought it into existence.
Proper rejuvenation of lakes was ensured by C.S. Puttaraju. Stating, that there was never enough man power to look into the issue he ensured that matters will be looked into.
The Minister said the department had started conducting survey on the encroachment of lakes and 5,791.06 hectares had been found to be encroached. Encroachment of 1,058 lakes have been cleared so far. Discussing about the delay in clearing encroachments to the shortage of surveyors, he said that the department was planning to draft services of surveyors from the Revenue Department and private agencies to look into the matter.
Previously, the Minor Irrigation Department officials had confirmed that they had notified the amendments on March 26, a day before the Election Commission declared poll dates. While the election activities gained momentum, the notification did not come under public scrutiny. In fact, the government, which had been criticised for pushing the amendment, did not make efforts to provide wide publicity to the notification.
Meanwhile, Sharanappa Mattur has alleging that there was rampant corruption in the schemes envisaged to protect lakes and members of all parties were party to it. He cited a case pertaining to alleged loss of Rs 38 crore in the rejuvenation of lakes in Koppal and Raichur districts.