Tuesday, January 26, 2010

BMTF and BBMP at loggerheads

BMTF and BBMP at loggerheads
G Manjusainath, Bangalore, Jan 25, DH News Service:

The protector and the protected are at loggerheads. The BBMP is crying foul over the usurpation by the Bangalore Metropolitan Task Force (BMTF), a police force set up to provide protection to civic officials while they are on demolition drives in the City, of the task of identifying and razing illegal structures.


At the heart of the raging controversy are a series of letters that BMTF Superintendent of Police Lakshman Singh dispatched to building law violators asking them to “produce copies of their approved plans, commencement and completion certificates, city survey sketches issued by the Land Survey Department and BBMP’s khata certificates”.

A copy of one such letter, in the possession of Deccan Herald, warns these violators that “failure to produce these documents would entail action under Section 321(1)(3) of the KMC Act, 1976”. Lakshman Singh admitted thad he had issued the notice and there was “nothing wrong” in sending them to people suspected to have violated building by-laws. Reacting sharply to the BMTF’s proposed plan to punish the violators, BBMP chief Bharat Lal Meena told Deccan Herald that “they have no business to issue such notices. They must refrain from doing so. I will take up the matter urgently with the BMTF authorities.” Meena said he was unaware that the BMTF had already begun issuing these notices which have been sent to at least 170 individuals, including some builders.

On the other hand, BMTF Inspector General of Police Narayan Nadamani would have none of it. Nadamani shot back, saying: “We have been empowered by the State Urban Development department to issue notices to the violators. We are not working under BBMP, but function directly under the Urban Development Department’s vigilance wing.”

According to Nadamani, the BMTF has been declared as a regular police force to protect government land and check building plan violations.

The basis of the BMTF’s claim is an August 1997 amendment to an earlier order of the Urban Development Department which inter alia specifies that the BMTF “can investigate into offences and irregularities committed under various laws, including the Karnataka Municipal Corporation Act, 1976, the BDA Act, the Karnataka Municipalities Act, the BWSSB Act, the IPC and the Karnataka Police Act.”

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