(REOPEN MDS9)

    Meanwhile, Karnataka Legislative Assembly Speaker and Chairman of the Joint Committee on Lake Encroachment in the city, K B Koliwad, rejected allegations that the influentialpersons were being spared in the ongoing drive. "I don’t agree with that, anyone — they may be big or small — if their building is on rajakaluve (storm waterdrain) they will be removed," he told PTI. He said the committee in its report would also recommendaction against officials who colluded in encroachments. A legislature committee, led by Koliwad, was constitutedin October 2014 to look into all encroachments in Bengaluruurban and rural districts and recommend suitable action orregularisation. After the committee meeting, he said a "comprehensive"report with recommendations would be submitted in two month’stime and it will include "complete" details of lakes, stormwater drains, buffer zones and small tanks. Stating that there were several cases pending beforedifferent courts, challenging clearing of encroachments and stay orders being issued in many cases, Koliwad said he wouldsoon call for a meeting of the Advocate General, Director ofProsecution to take steps for vacating stays and disposal ofcases at the earliest. Also pointing out that several cases were pending beforethe High Court, he said he would approach the Chief Justice ofKarnataka, requesting him to establish a separate court todeal with encroachment related cases or direct the judgesconcerned to dispose the cases as quickly as possible. Noting that there were doubts over whether the NationalGreen Tribunal’s order on buffer zone was retrospective orprospective, he said "the Development Department has soughtopinion of the law department on this;  they will examine andsubmit the opinion." The committee after conducting the survey had earlier said that in Bengaluru city and rural limits there were atotal of 1,545 lakes, with the city alone having 835 lakes,covering 27,604 acres. "In total both Bengaluru city and rural have lake area of 57,576 acres, out of which 4,227 acres have beenencroached  in the city and 6,195 acres in rural area. So atotal of 10,472 acres of lake land have been encroached," ithad said. PTI KSU RA APRSRYMVV

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