BANGALORE: Residents of an upscale apartment complex, where InfosysBSE -2.40 % CEO SD Shibulal's wife owns a flat, on Tuesday woke up to the sound of bulldozers and other heavy equipment brought in by authorities to demolish their walls.
The apartment, Sobha Garnet, at the Sarjapur-Outer Ring Road junction, is home to IT executives and is just a stone's throw from the WiproBSE -3.93 % corporate office. It also boasts of an Olympian hockey player among its residents. Sobha Developers, the developer, has been battling with authorities over an encroachment issue.
Officials allege that the 10-yearold property has encroached into the nearby Ibbalur Lake. But Sobha denies this charge. The 87 families who reside in the building had little clue of what was in store for them on Tuesday when the heavy equipment rolled in. "All we knew in the morning was that people had come with bulldozers to break into our homes," said a senior employee of Infosys , who lives in the building.
Authorities allege that Sobha encroached 9.3 metres, where the property's compound wall and water storage system exist. Sobha claimed that the assistant commissioner of Bangalore South sub-division had asked for a new survey but officials had not taken any steps.
Instead, they demolished the walls. Sobha also claims that the property had received an occupancy certificate dated March 5, 2003, and that the company did not receive any demolition notice from the tahsildhar of Bangalore South Taluk.
"The tahsildhar without complying with the orders of the high court and also the asst commissioner without hearing the owners, or providing them with the survey report, had on 04.03.2014, after pasting a notice dated 01.03.2014, illegally demolished the alleged encroached portion of 4 guntas by Sobha DevelopersBSE 0.91 % , thereby causing threat to the life and by causing damages to the limb and assets of the owners who are residing in the above apartments, in a manner which is not contemplated under Law," said Sobha. But residents blame Sobha for their troubles.
"Even a few days ago, Sobha officials assured us that nothing will happen as there is a court case," said Ashish Kumar Ballal, a former goal keeper in the Indian hockey team that took part in the Barcelona Olympics. Tahsildhar BR Dayanand supervised the demolition of Sobha Garnet's compound wall and a commercial building near it. He gave residents three days to make alternative arrangements for water supply.
"The Ibbalur Lake has 18 acre and 6 guntas but water-logging is only on 7 acres and 30 guntas," Dayanand said. "The rest has been encroached. The residents cannot claim that we have not informed them about the demolition."