BANGALORE: It was 6.30am on Tuesday and many residents of Sobha Garnet, an apartment complex on Outer Ring Road, were asleep when a huge commotion outside woke them up. There were bulldozers, a police vehicle and media at daybreak outside their apartment. The compound wall, they were informed, was on encroached land and therefore had to be razed down.
Sobha Garnet was one among the many buildings, portions of which were razed down by civic authorities, allegedly standing on encroached land of Iblur lake. According to officials, Shobha Garnet has four guntas, Sun City five guntas and Sunshine seven guntas which are encroached land.
"The Iblur lake that existed on the survey no. 36 was spread across an area of 18 acres and 6 guntas, but the area has been reduced to 7 acres and 32 guntas. There were 17 encroachments on the lake bed that include the premier developer Sobha, Sunshine, Sun City and Joseph Associates. There was a temple, private school, tennis court, hoardings, a commercial complex, road, apartments, sump besides a lawn, garden and underground water storage tank," Bangalore Urban deputy commissioner GC Prakash said.
While the compound walls of Sun City and Shobha Garnet were being brought down, a few feet of a commercial complex on the same lane was also razed. There was stiff resistance from the residents as emotions flared up at the scene. Women stood in front of bulldozers before they were pushed aside by police. Arguments continued with residents saying they were given a notice only on Monday evening. Most of them had to skip office to stay at the apartment and watch the proceedings as the bulldozer razed down the wall and uprooted the palm trees planted on the side.
"It is our earning of a lifetime. It is our home. It is our life. They cannot do what they want with us and not keep us informed," said Dr Premlataha T S, a doctor at St Johns Hospital residing in Sobha. The apartment also has a water tank along the compound wall for which it has been given five days time. The 12-year-old building has around 87 apartments in the complex, including that of Infosys managing director Shibulal and international hockey player Ashish Ballal.
Prakash added that there are documents to prove that the developers and others had taken permission and sanction from BDA, BMRDA and BBMP, but many of them deviated from the sanctioned plan of the civic authorities and nobody had obtained clearance from the revenue department.