Friday, June 30, 2006

Probe sought into allotment of land for BMIC project

Probe sought into allotment of land for BMIC project

The Hindu

In thelegislature 400 acres of excess land has been acquired: MLA

# Charges Project is nothing but a big fraud
# Promoters were favoured by two successive governments
# Land has been mortgaged for loans

BANGALORE: G.V. Srirama Reddy (CPI-M) on Thursday described the Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) project as the "biggest fraud" committed on the State and demanded an inquiry against those responsible for allotting land to Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise (NICE), which is executing the project.

Raising the issue in the Legislative Assembly, he said NICE had violated the initial memorandum of understanding (1995) and the framework agreement (1997) signed with the Government as also the Karnataka High Court order. NICE had acquired over 400 acres of excess land around Bangalore.

`Take land back'

The Government should take steps to take back the excess land and return it to the farmers from whom it had been acquired. The Government should file criminal cases against all those responsible for granting the excess land, he said.

NICE had been favoured by two successive governments, Mr. Reddy said.

A tripartite agreement was signed in 2002 by the S.M. Krishna government allowing the company to sell excess land to mobilise funds to execute the project. The agreement was neither brought before the legislature nor the Cabinet. It was just an administrative order. Why the Krishna government favoured NICE should be looked into.

Mr Reddy said the legislature had the power to nullify the project, overriding the order of the executive. The power had been referred to in the High Court decision on the project and the Supreme Court had ratified the same. It was for the Government to move in the matter.

NICE had mortgaged project land and borrowed Rs. 150 crore from a bank.

The concessions given to the company included tax exemptions (Rs. 150 crore) for the land transferred from the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board and stamp duty waiver (Rs. 85 crore).

The member pointed out that Deputy Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa had called the BMIC project the biggest scam of all in the country when he was Leader of the Opposition.

Company's threat

J.C. Madhuswamy (JD-U) said NICE Managing Director Ashok Kheny had been threatening to file a contempt of court petition in the Supreme Court against the Government if land was not granted to his company to complete the project.

The Government was afraid of NICE, he said and urged Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy to take immediate steps to recover acres excess land from the company.


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