‘Don’t you have any shame? I will slap you and break your teeth’ said a seething MLA Satish Reddy to the recently appointed Deputy Conservator of Forests, Deepika Bajpai. Deepika faced this verbal assault when she reached the spot where MLA Satish Reddy and Manjunath Prasad from Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Commisioner, came to inspect the areas in Bomannhalli and Kodichikkannahalli which had close to 4 feet of water due to heavy rains.
This reaction at first stunned the officer but she was quick to react and ask the MLA to mind his language.
“The flooding has taken place due to encroachments in culverts and many lake beds have been illegally encroached upon to built house causing the storm water drains to get blocked,” the officer said. Satish Reddy’s reaction came with the thought that the DCF has no idea why the flooding took place and verbally assaulted her with his remark.
HERE’S WHAT HAPPENED
Speaking to India Today, Deepika explained what had happened. The months of July and August is when the forest department plants saplings along the lake areas. The department was involved in it when the rains created havoc. The BBMP commisioner and the MLA Satish Reddy had decided to go to the spot and were calling Deepika to the affected areas. As she was occupied with her seniors on the job, she requested for time to reach Bommanhalli.
On reaching the spot, an altercation surfaced between the MLA and Deepika Bajpai. The MLA targeted the IFS officer and allegedly claimed that it was the first department which should have helped avert the situation. “We have been fighting against the real estate lobby who have been trying very hard to claim the lake. If we allow them, they will convert the lake into another set of apartments. They have already encroached upon so many of our lakes in the city. We are trying to save our lakes and this flooding has not gone down well with the officials,” said Deepika.
“Since it is the planting season for the forest department at this time, I was in the field and I had told the MLA and the commisioner that as there was no network connectivity, I will return their calls. When I was there with my seniors, he got verbally abusive. He asked me “Maana maryaada ilava? I will slap you for bringing this situation,” she said.
LEGAL ACTION AGAINST THE MLA
Irked by Reddy’s disrespectful behaviour, the DCF is planning to file a formal complaint against the MLA for his act. She will formally file a complaint with the IFS officers association and also send a copy of the fact finding report to the chief secretary.
When India Today tried to speak to the MLA, he did not respond to the calls.
Another BBMP official who had visited the site and sought anonymity said that the real estate lobby are solely responsible for this. “They claim areas to built houses and flats and later don’t even bother to see if the drainage system is in place of not,” the official said.
The neighbouring Arekere lake flowed into the houses of the residents and fishes were seen floating in the water that had entered the houses. The BBMP Commissioner Manjunath Prasad, who visited the area said it has become a huge challenge as there have been several encroachments. “I will be taking up this issue on war footing, and we will try and see that the areas don’t get flooded like this again, he said.
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