Friday, April 22, 2005

Govt, BDA learn land lessons

Govt, BDA learn land lessons
Post-Arkavathy Verdict, Errors Will Have To Be Ironed Out
The Times of India

Bangalore: As the state and the BDA plan their next course of action following the high court verdict in the Arkavathy case, they also have to contend with ironing out several errors pointed out by the HC in the land development process around the city.

For instance, Justice V. Gopala Gowda has, in his April 15 order, observed that amendments to the BDA Site Allotment Rules (of the BDA Act) have ended up contradicting the original Act itself.

Now, site allottees can get sale deeds in their favour as soon as they pay the site value. This enables them to sell sites for a higher value to prospective buyers. But, originally, the Allottment Rules had said that allottees must be tenants (on the site) for ten years and not sell it during that period, the court has pointed out.

No rehabilitation plans: In the case of the Arkavathy layout, the court has observed that though land spread over 16 villages was acquired, neither the BDA nor the government had thought of rehabilitation schemes for villagers displaced by the project. Paying them compensation will not be enough, the court stated. Land conversions: The judge has held deputy commissioners and tahsildars responsible for “indiscriminately granting conversion of lands included in the CDP.’’

These lands are then sold to non-agriculturists, even though the Karnataka Land Reforms Act bars the latter from owning such lands without permission from the state government.

Converted lands are used for non-agricultural purposes “without the approval of the planning authority,’’ the court has stated.
Layouts: The court has also said that till a metropolitan planning committee is formed, private builders and individuals cannot engage in construction activities around the city.

Rating withdrawn: The LAA+ rating that ICRA gave Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) no longer holds good, the credit rating agency has said. In an official note issued on Thursday, Jayanta Chatterjee, general manager and ICRA branch-incharge, said though the agency did rate BDA as LAA+ for its Rs 100-crore bond programme, “the rating was withdrawn in April 2004 on redemption of the bonds.’’
“ICRA does not have any outstanding rating on BDA’s debt programme,’’ the note added.

Bangalore: BDA has sent the inputs to the cabinet which will take a final decision on the Arkavathy project in its meeting on Saturday.

BDA sources said a note was sent to the cabinet on Thursday. “The cabinet is the supreme authority in this case so we cannot say anything now,’’ they added. BDA obtained a copy of the 675-page judgment on Wednesday. “Our legal officers have been going through it,’’ they added. TNN


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