Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Home dreams recede further

Home dreams recede further

Attack on BDA officials at Kodigehalli sends ominous signals, say observers

Bosky Khanna



With the farmers' agitation intensifying against the acquisition of farm lands, the dream of owning a site seems to be turning into a mirage for hundreds of Bangaloreans.
On the other hand, resistance to acquisition of farm lands has now forced the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) to tread more carefully in implementing its Nadaprabhu Kempegowda Layout.
The attack on BDA officials, who went to Kodigehalli on Monday to conduct total station survey for the final notification for the formation of Kempegowda Layout, sends ominous signals. Following this, experts say that people may have to wait longer to get a site as the present land owner is not happy with the compensation package and does not want to part with his possession.
Since 2005, when Arkavathi Layout was notified, 2.5 lakh aspirants applied for sites. And they are still waiting. A major part of the layout is currently under dispute with many cases pending in various courts. According to BDA's 2004 plan, Arkavathi Layout was to be formed across 2,750 acres covering 16 villages in Yelahanka and Varthur constituencies. A preliminary notification was issued on February 3, 2003 to develop 3,839 acres and the final notification was issued on March 22, 2004 to develop 2,750 acres of land. The BDA aimed to make the biggest layout in north-east with a budget of Rs940 crore.
While most part of Arkavathi Layout is under litigation in Supreme Court, part of 22.49 acres is under high court litigation. These areas were earlier handed over to the Metropolitan Housing Cooperative Society to form 141 sites. At present, eight acres are free from litigation. BDA had sold 2.5 lakh applications and proposed to develop 20,000 sites in the layout but was able to allocate only 9,810 and 3,000 sites in two batches in 2005 and 2006, respectively.
"The cases of Arkavathi Layout and Kempegowda Layout are different. Work on Arkavathi Layout has been stalled not only because it is under litigation from the land owners but also due to political reasons. It is now a challenge before the BDA to offer a great deal of compensation to the land owners,'' said V Ravichandar, chairman and managing director of Feedback.
"The success of BDA in forming layouts will depend on the land acquisition and equitable compensation to land owners. But this is a big challenge. Farmers are wondering whether it is fair that the land owner is getting a compensation amount lesser than market rate. The BDA should thus think of a fair deal. It is not a jinx but a reality and wake-up call. Unless you get the land acquisition and ratio right, this will continue," he added.
Adding to this, civic expert Samuel Paul said that the dispute was arising because people thought that they were not getting the right compensation. There had been an effort to establish market prices and minimise conflicts, but to what extent it should be, was yet to be ascertained, he said.
It is not that BDA has failed in the formation of layouts; it has formed many of them. Some are still in its possession and are yet to be handed over to Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike. They are Visvesvaraya Layout and its extension, Banashakari 6th Stage and its extension and Anjanapura Layout and its extension.
"One cannot assume that the process of formation of layouts is jinxed or the sites have become a mirage. The BDA, along with Karnataka Industrial Development Board (KIADB), has formed 66 layouts offering 1.40 lakh sites. We are now requesting the government to clear the process of formation of layouts faster so that citizens get sites. Litigation in case of Arkavathi Layout is an isolated case and cannot be compared with Nadaprabhu Kempegowda Layout and the incident,'' said BDA commissioner Siddhaiah.
BDA plans to develop five layouts in different parts of the city and allot 1.76 lakh sites to people of various dimensions under the Comprehensive Development Plan. While Kempegowda Layout got clearance from the government for final notification on February 16, 2010, K Shivaram Karanth Layout still remains in the preliminary notification stage.

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