Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Stray sites go astray; VIPs corner most

Stray sites go astray; VIPs corner most
The Times of India

Bangalore: Thousands brave the ordeal of applying for a site — Arkavathy or not — and face rejection. But a privileged few can still be lucky if they have the government’s blessings. Thanks to the special G category, stray sites are being allotted to all and sundry in the name of “public service’’.

During the last 10 months, the state government has quietly allotted 34 sites under the special G category to elected representatives and party functionaries. These sites are in HSR layout, Jnanabharathi, Nagarbhavi and BTM layout, according to sources in the government.

The G category stray sites have to be allotted strictly to those in “public service, as may be directed by the government.’’ But over the years the rules for allotting sites under this category have been violated.

Check this out: From 2002 to 2004, the Krishna government had sanctioned as many as 296 sites under G category, majority of whom were politicians, government officers, film actors and those without defined profiles. And the sites happen to be in premium areas: RMV extension, HSR layout, HRBR layout, Gangenahalli, Banashankari, Domlur and Koramangala. Major chunk of the allotments are 50 ft X 80 ft and 60 ft X 40 ft dimension sites.

Here is one instance which talks about rampant misuse of the category: A Kannada activist and an elected representative had been successful in getting a stray site in his daughter’s name, while a Davanagerebased politician and educationist was allotted a G category site, and after screening the records, it was found that this was his second allotment! These allotments were done by the previous Congress government.

Under the present government, 34 stray sites have been allotted so far. A stray site is a residential plot which is allotted to a person and is subsequently cancelled. This is then converted into a G category.

The practice of allotting G category sites became rampant during the Janata Dal government. During its tenure, the government allotted 260 stray sites under this category to MLAs, MPs and former ministers. Among the allottees were —- personal assistants, car drivers, cooks and peons of politicians.

However, the Krishna government stayed all the 260 allotments and cleared only 44 allotments. Ironically, during its tenure too, the Congress government went ballistic about the allotments, official sources explained. They included bureaucrats and officers in CM’s secretariat, film actors and party functionaries.

“This is a bad trend set by the government as it is a backdoor entry into allotments. Though these rules came into force in 1976, allotments have increased in recent years. No CM wants to defy the rule as it is politically motivated,’’ officials told The Times of India.

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