Sunday, July 19, 2009

Government decision will hit turf club hard

Government decision will hit turf club hard

Staff Reporter
It will have to pay Rs. 42.5 lakh a year to State
Cabinet has decided to allot 85 acres to BTC at Doddajala

Opposition from greens to land allotment feared

Bangalore: The alternative land for the racecourse will come at a “steep price” to the Bangalore Turf Club (BTC), as the State Cabinet on Friday decided in principle to allot 85 acres of Amanikere at Doddajala near the Bengaluru International Airport (BIAL) at an annual lease of Rs. 50,000 per acre. The lease will be valid for 30 years.

This means the BTC will have to pay Rs. 42.5 lakh a year to the Government, compared to around Rs. 10 lakh it pays every year now. Moreover, the lease amount will be increased by 10 per cent every two years.

Not only this, the Cabinet also decided to impose a condition that the BTC remodel the feeder canals passing through the Doddajala land to ensure that the flow of water to Amanikere is unhindered.

According to the report submitted to the Revenue Department, the total area of the tank is 152 acres, and at present the storage is only to the extent of about 45 to 50 acres. The land being allotted to the BTC is situated on one side of the tank, which has remained dry for more than 20 years.

Apart from these major conditions, there will be a few more included as per the law while issuing the allotment order to the BTC, according to sources.

Meanwhile, sources in the Revenue and Urban Development departments foresee legal challenges from environmentalists over allotting a part of the tank to the BTC.

BTC vice-chairman Harimohan Naidu, while thanking the Government, told The Hindu that he was waiting for the formal order to comment on the allotment riders.

However, a majority of BTC members have voiced their unhappiness over the development.

“We have to spend a huge amount to remodel the feeder canals and the BTC is not financially strong to take up all these activities. Moreover, the 30-year lease period is too short. We need at least Rs. 350 crore to put in place infrastructure for the new racecourse. The Government should provide financial incentives for this and permit us to continue racing activities at the existing track till the new course is ready,” said a BTC member.

The Government, it may be recalled, has asked BTC to vacate the present premises by December 31.

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