Submitted by alvin on Sat, 2016-08-06 20:24 Bengaluru: Having received Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s permission, the BBMP started its demolition drive at Bommanahali, Yelhanka and Mahadevpura Zone on Saturday.The decision to demolish encroachments on storm-water drains was taken after recent flooding in Bommanahalli and surroundings areas due to heavy rains.The BBMP along with Bengaluru Metropolitan Task Force police and surveyors from revenue department started the drive as early 9 am.At Nyanappanahalli village, officials demolished 9 houses built on storm-water drain that connects the Arakere Lake and reclaimed several empty plots."There were a total of 17 properties on storm-water drain stretch, including 9 houses. The rest were empty plots. These properties resulted in floods as they blocked the flow of storm-water,” said mayor Manjunath Reddy.On the issue of compensation, the mayor said there was no question of compensation since the owners had encroached upon government property. However, the BBMP will explore options of rehabilitation on humanitarian grounds, he said.A similar drive was conducted in Yelahanka zone as well. "The BBMP will be merciless and will not spare any encroachment. There were reports of DLF having encroached. If it is true, we will evict them,” said the mayor.BBMP Commissioner Manjunath Prasad said lakes were there to mitigate flooding and for that culverts and storm-water drains should be protected."People should be careful before buying land. Officials and builders involved will obviously face legal consequences," said the commissioner.Heartrending scenesAt Avani Shringeri Layout, as the JCB machines got to work, families were crying and begging officials to spare them."I have documents. I paid the tax, but the BBMP did not raise any objections while construction was on. Now, they have demolished my home and I am homeless,” said Pradeep who runs a provision store at Bommanahalli.Amidst the drive, a few residents accused the BBMP of bending rules for influential and rich people. In Avani Shringeri Nagar, a house belonging to P Baliga falls in the centre of the drain. Fearing losing entire house, the owners requested the BBMP commissioner deviate the storm-water drain, following which the commissioner asked the storm-water department to demolish only a part of the house.On seeing this, other residents accused the BBMP of being lenient towards rich residents.