Friday, December 31, 2004

State cancels BMIC agreement

Cabinet for fresh pact on BMIC

Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise is not keen on making any changes in the agreement already signed with the government.

Deccan Herald

In a major policy decision, the State Cabinet on Thursday decided to sign afresh the framework agreement with Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise (NICE) on the controversial Bangalore Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) project and redeem 2,450 acres of excess land acquired for the project.

Briefing reporters after the Cabinet meeting, Information Minister B Shivaram said the Cabinet also imposed a rider on the NICE company not to use the land allotted to it for any purpose other than formation of the road.

Mr Shivaram said 1,478 acres acquired from farmers for the first phase of the multi-crore project would be taken over and reconveyed to farmers.

The Cabinet also resolved to demand that NICE sign a new framework agreement that allowed for settlement of all arbitration in an Indian court instead of a court in London as mentioned in the original agreement, Mr Shivaram said. He added that the government wanted the work to begin as soon as possible.

Township project

The Cabinet also decided to put on hold the township project proposed by NICE near Bidadi on the outskirts of Bangalore.

Meanwhile, NICE has rejected the government proposal for modification of the framework agreement, declaring that it would execute the project as per the agreement already signed.

Mr Shivaram said the decisions adopted on the BMIC project were in accordance with the interim report submitted by an expert committee headed by former PWD Secretary K C Reddy, set up by the government to go into whether any violations had taken place in the project and excess land had been acquired.
The Cabinet which accepted the interim report “in toto” also decided to put on hold the township project proposed by NICE near Bidadi for which 2,387.32 acres of land had been allotted.

He said a final view on the entire project would be taken after receiving the final report of the committee expected in a month’s time.


Vain bid to stall Cabinet to review BMIC project

The State Cabinet on Thursday is learnt to have decided to go ahead with implementation of the interim report of the expert’s committee on the controversial BMIC project, despite lobbying from bureaucracy to stall it, DHNS reports from Bangalore.

According to highly-placed sources, a former chief secretary of the State had contacted some ministers before the Cabinet meeting and urged them to demand for setting up a sub-committee to look into the interim report.

Though one or two ministers had raised the matter in the meeting, the Cabinet was almost unanimous in its decision to redeem 2,252 acres of excess land acquired for the project, as per the report.

Sources also said that the report has uncovered a conspiracy of allotting land in excess to the requirement of the project. Though NICE had not taken the Public Works Department’s approval to take up the project, a preliminary notification to acquire 4,000 acre land in Bangalore South and North taluks had been issued. While the proposed project was planned in a particular area, land was acquired in entirely difference place, official sources alleged.

In another instance of acquiring excess land, a whopping 2,387 acre land was acquired to develop an estimated one lakh site near Bidadi, while it requires just around 500 acre land to develop one lakh sites, officials said.

NICE rejects proposal

Meanwhile, the NICE on Thursday rejected the government proposal for modification of the frame work agreement for the Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) project declaring that it would execute the project as per the agreement inked already. “Figures do not lie. Liars figure, is the only phrase that comes to our mind, while reading about the outcome of the illegally constituted review committee”, NICE said in a statement, reacting sharply to the cabinet decision.

NICE declared that the expert committee set up to go into the BMIC project as “illegal” and refused to take cognisance of its findings and ruled out signing of framework agreement afresh.

“Since this committee is constituted for self-serving purposes by certain political families and its members, we do not take cognisance of its findings”, the statement said. NICE asserted to continue to execute the project as per the framework agreement signed between it and the state government since the same was upheld by the Karnataka High Court and the Supreme Court.


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