Group asks govt to operationalise District Lake Protection Committees

People’s Campaign for Right to water- Karnataka (PCRW-K) is a campaign pushing for a water democracy that protects water as a common property resource and provides safe, sufficient and clean water for all. The campaign also works on protection of lakes, water bodies in Karnataka and conserving water resources as commons. This is a press note from the Campaign, produced as it is.

The campaign works to make the state responsible to facilitate people’s participation in nurturing lakes as commons and has repeatedly registered complaints, had series of discussions with the Chief Secretary, Government of Karnataka and various concerned departments who have been vested with the responsibility of protecting lakes. Despite immediate petitioning and regular follow up, the encroachments of lakes continue to this day and the concerned committee members have acted with utmost disregard to our repeated calls for action.

The government has failed to operationalise High Court mandated District Lake Protection Committees. In a landmark judgement in response to a Public interest Litigation filed by ESG – The Environment Support Group, the Honourable High Court of Karnataka ordered for the setting up of District Level Inter-departmental lake protection committees in Dec 2013. This may be the first of its kind single window opportunity for participation of local people in protecting lakes from encroachments and other kind of destructions.  Unfortunately, despite a contempt notice on the Chief Secretary and the subsequent setting up of the committees, there is no sign that they are operational. No District Committee in Karnataka has ever met to act on their prescribed responsibility. And the encroachment and destruction of lakes continue with an even more hurried manner.

This clearly shows that there is lack of political will in operationalising these committees that have to take up the survey of lakes, remove encroachments and restore them to their original pristine self as per the guidelines mentioned in the Justice N K Patil report, which was part of the PIL.

We the citizens of Bangalore and members of the Peoples Campaign for Right to water demand the state to operationalise these District Level Inter-departmental lake protection committees immediately. The following demands, as per the High Court order, will be submitted to Mr. Kaushik Mukherjee, the Chief Secretary, GoK and Urge him to act up on them immediately.

1.       Survey all the lakes in Karnataka within next 3 months and to make the survey details public. The lakes should be surveyed as per the guidelines mentioned Justice N K Patil report and encroachments of these lakes and Raajakaluves.

2.       To stop concreting existing Raajakaluves and storm water drains and to maintain them as natural ecological systems.

3.       To analyse the quality of water in each lake and to publish the report every quarter. The committee should coordinate with relevant departments and ensure that the lakes are rid of the pollution and a regular upkeep of lakes are sustained in the manner, as ordered by the High Court.

4.       District Level lake protection committees should announce one day of every month as public meeting day.

5.       Ward committees and Gram Panchayats should be activated to democratise the governance of local water sources like lakes, ponds, streams, catchment areas and to ensure their patency by preventing encroachments, pollution etc.

6.       All wards in cities and gram panchayats to develop a plan within next three months to green the lake boundaries, existing Raajakaluves and storm water drains.

7.       Every district in the state should be provided with one help line number (same number for all the districts) where people can lodge their complaints about lakes.

People’s Campaign for Right to Water- Karnataka

Puspanikethana Nilaya, 

No 3, 1st Cross, 

4th Main, Sampangiramanagar, 

Bangalore 560 027

Contact Persons: M. Eshwarappa/ Dr. Kshithij Urs/ Rajendra Prabhakar/Meena P      

                                        9845448287/ 9845452242/ 9449820566/ 9945394747

 

This article has been published on Citizen Matters through Message Forward – a service that allows citizens and organisations to issue announcements to the public. This content has been provided by the official id of People’s Campaign for Right to Water-Karnataka.

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