Friday, February 18, 2005

‘Lake view’ sites: a hole in the pocket

‘Lake view’ sites: a hole in the pocket
Laying the foundation for a house near on the brink of a lake in Arkavathy layout would mean three times the normal cost.

Deccan Herald

Getting a “lake-view” site in Arkavathy Layout may not be such a lucky draw, after all.

For the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) has been developing sites right on the banks and catchment areas of lakes in the layout. The move, according to builders, is likely to take prospective house-owners straight to the banks — the money-lending banks, that is.

If you are one of those unlucky allottees who gets a site next to the scenic Jakkur lake behind the Jakkur aerodrome, prepare to pay through your nose. Along the periphery of the lake, digging a foundation for your dream house will cost you three times that of what you would otherwise spend on it, builders confirm. Within the vast stretches of the 1,000-plus acres that is Arkavathy Layout, there are four lakes — Jakkur, Dasarahalli, Rachena-halli and Nagawara.

Jakkur tank is the largest of them all. Around this lake, water logs large tracts of the proposed site area, even as trucks and cranes try to patch them up with soil.
Even now, as various private firms try to level the land around the lakes, water-logging on the surface of several of the proposed sites is visible. Though soil is being used to fill up the areas around the lake, locals say digging the land for building a house would mean digging pretty deep.

As advocate S Selva Kumar who specialises in real estate issues points out, “You cannot lay the foundation on the loose soil used to level land, you have to dig to the point where you find firm mud. This could be as much as ten feet in areas on the brink of a lake, as against the usual four feet that people dig, before laying a foundation. This would mean three times the usual cost.”

According to a town planner, “Usually, during layout formation, a large margin of land around the periphery is reserved as ‘government land’ around a tank area. These are not converted into sites. If they are, future site-owners will have a problem building anything on it.”

Incidentally, formation of sites around the other lakes has left this kind of a margin — where a wide road and other tracts of land is left undisturbed by the layout.

BDA Commissioner M N Vidyashankar, when contacted, explained that levelling and filling up land for formation of sites is made of not loose soil but stronger red soil. “There is no question of using loose soil here, how can we take a chance on this crucial issue? We are using firm red soil,” said Mr Vidyashankar.

Mr Kumar, however, contests this claim, “Red soil is stronger soil. But whatever soil is used, future house-builders will have to dig deep to lay a foundation. Usually, we dig five feet to reach firm soil, in this case, you would have to dig about five feet more.”

Going by BDA’s own past experience of water-logging in catchment areas of other lakes in the City — such as Madiwala and Ejipura — one can only imagine what this “model layout” is going to face once houses come up.


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