Bengaluru: The next time you see a lake encroached or polluted in your vicinity, you need not run from pillar to post to save it. The newly constituted Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Authority (KLCDA), which has replaced the Lake Development Authority (LDA), is in the process of fixing responsibilities for all waterbodies. This means, there will be a designated officer to whom you can approach or lodge a complaint.
The KLCDA’s operational norms were finalized recently . The situation in Bengaluru till now has been confusing as the custodianship of waterbodies is with various agencies -BBMP, BDA, forest department, etc. Even within agencies, there is no designated officer taking care of each lake.The BDA’s lake wing, for instance, is hardly equipped to manage 123 of the 210 lakes in the city. Custodianship of other waterbodies is spilt between agencies such as BBMP (60), forest department (5), minor irrigation department (18) and Lake Development Authority (4), who hardly coordinate among themselves. Similar is the case with other municipal corporations in the state.
The KLCDA is an umbrella authority when it comes to conservation of lakes in Karnataka but located within the limits of municipal corporations, BDA or any other waterbody or lake notified by the government from time to time.
Ajai Misra, the new chief executive officer of KLCDA, has already begun the exercise of fixing responsibilities for each lake.
“The authority has been given a sanctioned strength of 96 staff, spread over administrative, finance, revenue, engineering, forest and enforcement wings. As it will take time to fill these posts, we are fixing responsibilities on officers of respective agencies which are the custodians of lakes as of now. For example, for a lake in Jayanagar area, a local executive engineer or assistant executive engineer will be the pointsperson. People can contact the officer for any queries or complaint,” said a senior official with KLCDA.
The authority has begun mapping lakes afresh, starting with those in the BDA jurisdiction. “As of now, we have identified 474 lakes which are spread over 3 acres and above.Our teams are studying the erstwhile village maps of the revenue department to create this database as custodian agencies didn’t have proper maps with them. We are preparing details of these waterbodies including area, location, officer or staff in charge, pending litigation if any . Once the process is completed, we will put them up on our website so that people can access them,” said an official.