Saturday, October 30, 2004

NICE shoots of protest letter

Why were notified lands withdrawn?
Times of India

Bangalore: A Dabhol-like situation looms large over the much-talked-about and much-delayed Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) project.

Ashok Kheny, chairman of Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises (NICE), which is implementing the project, has shot off a 10-page letter to chief minister Dharam Singh. “The appointment of any committee other than the EC (Empowered Committee) to review the progress of the project will become a governmental ‘force majeure’, and will be a default of the agreement by the government.”

The bone of contention is the allegation that NICE is utilising parts of the land as real estate. Kheny contends that townships along the expressway is part of the frame work agreement (FWA) and the project company has been utilising the land within this framework.

“Instead, it will be more relevant to set up a review committee to go into details as to why the lands notified for the project were withdrawn,” says Kheny. His maintains that neither the PWD, the administrative department for the project nor the NICE had sanctioned the partial (30 acres/33 guntas) withdrawal of the 1,181-acre land notified for the project.

Kheny’s letter talks of how the state government had made a submission to the Karnataka High Court in 1997 (in response to a PIL) that an extent of 20,193 acres of land would be required for the project.

Of that, the expressway roads would require 6,999 acres. The letter warns of a possible contempt-of-court situation if the government goes back on these commitments. It’s been a decade since the project was mooted and it has gone through a maze of approvals and reviews. Kheny now fears the government’s latest move may lead to more review committees which will jeopardise the financial closure (for phase one) achieved earlier this year.


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