Thursday, 4 April 2013

Sufficient land left in Arkavathy Layout: BDA

The Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) has claimed that it has sufficient land left in the Arkavathy Layout to hand over sites to all the 8,813 allottees.

BDA Commissioner T Sham Bhat said BDA is not denotifying any land in Arkavathy Layout. But we are leaving 285 acres of land that falls under the six parameters that are mentioned by the Supreme Court while delivering its judgment on acquiring the land for the layout.

“We will have sufficient land to give sites to all allottees and form some civic amenities sites even after leaving 285 acres of land and giving sites that we are supposed to give to the land owners (who gave up their lands for the layout),” the commissioner said.

The six parameters that the Supreme Court has directed the BDA to consider while acquiring the land for the layout are - the lands that fall within the green belt area, the lands that are surrounded by fully built-up area, lands belonging to charitable, educational and religious institutions, the lands that are used as nurseries, lands on which factories are established and lands similar to the lands that are denotified earlier.

Arkavathy Layout Allottees Association President G Shivaprakash said “many times, the BDA has gone back on its promises and has lost its credibility. According to the information that we have received, the BDA will find it difficult to hand over sites to all the allottees if it follows all the bylaws. Therefore, we have filed 95 writ of mandamus petitions before the High Court seeking the court’s intervention and they are pending for admission. We will not trust the BDA until it hands over our sites to us.”

The State government had notified 2,750 acres of land to form Arkavathy Layout to allot 20,000 sites to the aspiring applicants in 2003. The BDA had invited applications for sites and allotted 8,813 sites in 2004.

The land owners, who opposed acquisition, approached courts challenging the process by the BDA.

The subsequent governments denotified around 1,000 acres of the land. Despite Supreme Court passing its verdict in favour of the acquisition with certain riders in favour of the land owners, the land owners did not agree to part with their lands. Therefore, the BDA held discussions with them and agreed to give 40 per cent of the developed land to them as compensation for the lands that would be acquired for the layout. Due to these reasons, the BDA has just about enough land to hand over sites to the allottees in the layout.

The BDA is left with around 1,100 acres of land after leaving 285 acres. The BDA has to form the layout and allot sites to all allottees after giving 40 per cent of the developed land to the allottees.

BDA sites in limbo

At least 57 plots developed by the BDA are in a limbo as their titles have allegedly been snatched from the owners in Sir M Visvesvaraya Layout, western Bangalore.

The BDA denotified a 10-acre plot of land and conferred the ownership on two individuals. The land is described as “muffet kaval” (free forest land, but something akin to grazing land), meaning government owned. But the denotification ended up vesting the ownership with the two individuals.

BDA sources said the denotification committee of the BDA board had rejected the application for denotification of the land in 2006, stating that it was required for the layout.

The BDA allegedly kept the site owners in the dark about the fate of their titles. Five of the affected site owners have now approached the Karnataka High Court. They say they were sold the plots during 2003-05. After this, the BDA demanded, and received, tax from most owners.

The site owners then heard rumours that attempts were being made to sell their sites. A couple of them, posing as prospective buyers, contacted brokers operating in the area. They were taken to their own sites and told a 50x80 site would cost no less than Rs 1 crore.

In February, a site owner filed RTI applications with the BDA. Documents obtained a few days ago revealed that the BDA had denotified 7 acres in favour of KV Nagarathnamma on June 20, 2006, and 3 acres in favour of Purohit Jugaraj in September 2007.

The Karnataka high court has issued notices to the government, BDA and the two beneficiaries of the land denotification.

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