Monday, August 16, 2010

Pay up, land’s not enough: KSRTC tells Metro rail corp

Pay up, land’s not enough: KSRTC tells Metro rail corp
But BMRCL says it has already bartered land and can’t pay in cash since it’s not generating revenue
S Kushala bmfeedback@indiatimes.com


Namma Metro rail which has to cut through Subhashnagar bus station is facing a bottleneck of a different kind. That of Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) and Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) squabbling over a patch of prime land that has to be acquired for the Metro rail project.
The Metro rail’s 9-km long underground alignment passes through Subhashnagar area connecting BRV Grounds, Majestic, Okalipuram, City Market and Malleswaram. As a result, BMRCL needs to take over KSRTC property in the transportation hub — 7.5 acres permanently and around 12.5 acres temporarily until work is complete. In return, BMRCL has handed over 10 acres in Peenya and 9 acres in Byappanahalli for KSRTC’s traffic integration project.
IT’S THE MONEY, HONEY!
The problem now is the compensation. After valuating the KSRTC property and BMRCL’s 19 acres, the difference is Rs 170 crore, which the road transport corporation expects to get.
“Metro wants 20 acres in all, whether it is temporary or permanent acquisition. We are ready to part with it but at the same time, it’s important to ensure that commuters are least affected. We have to shift some of our operations and depots out of Subhashnagar area and need alternate lands. This needs money. We are asking for the difference amount of Rs 170 crore so that we can zero in on the lands,’’ an official told Bangalore Mirror.
KSRTC has identified lands on the axis of Hosur and Tumkur roads to shift its operations but could not clinch the deal.
“Services will be affected bigtime and we have an enormous task ahead. Travel time for people will increase. We have brought the matter before the government and are waiting for a commitment,’’ an official said.
‘WHY COMPENSATION?’
On the other hand, BMRCL which has won several land acquisition cases against private property owners is again looking towards the seat of power. Their argument is: Where is the question of compensation after the land-to-land barter?
“Even before the acquisition, we handed over 19 acres to KSRTC. Why should we then pay more compensation? We are still not a revenue-earning organisation and do not have the budget,” a BMRCL official argued.
Meanwhile, work on the underground line which is going through the tendering process, is scheduled to begin early next year. Will this bickering delay the Metro in its tracks?

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