Friday, July 28, 2006

‘BDA will reserve 1,000 acres for economy houses in the next layout project…’

‘BDA will reserve 1,000 acres for economy houses in the next layout project…’
The Bangalore Development Authority has major plans on the housing front. A public-private partnership to develop apartments is on the anvil. This apart, their infrastructure projects are set to gather momentum. M K Shankaralinge Gowda, Commissioner, outlines some plans in a chat with R Jayaprakash
The Times of INdia

When are you completing the Arkavati allotment process?
As you know we had originally planned for allotment of 20,000 in total spread across 2,750 acres. However, because of litigations, the available land for the layout formation has been reduced. As per the orders of the divisional bench of the High Court, we are supposed to denotify certain lands as specified by the directive. As a result we would be able to allot 15,000 sites only. Of these we have already allotted 9,000 sites and remaining 6,000 sites will be allotted as soon as we take possession of the land after considering the ground realties.

What are these ground realties? What about backlogs?
As per the High Court order, the interests of owners of built up areas and other registered properties in the Arkavati Layout before February 2003 (issue of preliminary notification for formation of Arkavati Layout) should be protected. The BDA will not take cognizance of properties transacted post 2003 February notification. I want to make one thing clear, the BDA has refunded all the money (around Rs 943 crores) collected as initial deposits. Under the current limitation we are doing our best to accommodate maximum possible applicants. The eligibility criteria for allotment was applied as per the norms and we can at most allot 15,000 sites. The remaining 5,000 applicants will not have any claim over Arkavati Layout. At this juncture, I request the other 5,000 applicants not lose heart as they will automatically qualify when they apply next time.

Are you planning any low-cost housing project?
The BDA has significantly contributed to the housing sector in terms of providing sites at reasonable rates. In future we will be forming mega layouts and economy housing will be the core area where the BDA will concentrate. Henceforth, in all our future layout projects, 10 percent of the proposed layout area will be dedicated to build apartment complexes under the PPP scheme. As the first step towards this, in our next layout project we are reserving 1,000 acres for economy houses. We will provide land to developers to put up these housing complexes and in return they will give us ready to occupy houses keeping their share. Of course we will decide as which blocks will be taken over by the BDA. The builder will also be liable to maintain and service these complexes. The allotment to these houses will be through our routine procedures. However, applicants who are already qualified and are in the waiting list for Economically Weaker Section (EWS) category sites and 30x40 sites will be given priority. Also, henceforth sites of dimension 50x80 will come with a premium.

The land acquisition process of the BDA has been questioned. Many of your projects have hit a dead end because of this. How are you addressing this?
Indeed. To resolve issues related to land acquisition there is new thinking, which has been appreciated by our Chief Minister. That is to create a win-win situation for both the landowners as well the government. If a land is denotified for a project, for example a layout project, the land will be acquired by the BDA and be developed. After the development, the developed area will be shared between the BDA and the owner in whatever ratio or portions the government decides. The CM has called for a meeting next week to give thrust for this thinking as this land acquisition issue has proved to be a major hurdle for implementing most of the development projects.

What is happening to the Hi-tech City project?
The Hi-tech City Bill that enables the BDA to implement the project has been cleared in the Assembly. The Legislative Council will have to pass the Bill. Once that is done, we will approach the High Court where the case is currently being discussed citing problems with the land acquisition process of the BDA and appeal for clearing impediments with the provision of the new Bill.

Where are you planning the next layout?
We have already decided the location but we cannot reveal it as yet. We will the set the action in motion by third week of September and for sure it is inside the BDA jurisdictional area of 1,300 sq km and we will not touch the greenbelt, as it is sacrosanct.

We are flooded by complaints from the residents of the existing BDA layouts on civic amenities…
Attending to road, water and other civic amenities in already-formed BDA layouts is our top priority. Civil work as well as basic infrastructure is being taken up in HSR Layout, BTM Layout, Anjanapura, Banashankri VI Stage and Visvesvaraya Layout. I am personally monitoring these works. Soon everything will be in place.

What is the news on the Draft Master Plan 2015?
We received 8,000 objections in total for changes in the Master Plan 2015. An official committee set up to scrutinise these objections has finished their work. The objections ranging form change in land use pattern to Valley Zone development programme, which is being highly contested in the Supreme Court, are being vetted out. This Bible of the BDA for the next 10 years will be in place, the day the government clears. However, we are confident of implementing the plan with changes upto 1 percent from the original draft.

Delay in construction flyovers of flyovers has drawn lot of flak from all quarters. When will they be completely operational?
Yes. I agree that some flyover projects have got delayed. The Indiranagar-IRR interchange especially had hit a roadblock twice, once for dispute over cost escalation and the other times for design challenges. Initially, the design was simple - to put a main ramp between IRR and Indiranagar 100 Ft Road. Later, it was decided that this junction should be made signal-free for non-stop flow of traffic and subsequently the changes in designs were made to accommodate four loops. STUP, which is the consultancy handling the project, has said because this project is one-of-its kind, it has been an engineering challenge. Now that we have overcome all the technical hurdles we should be completely through with the project by September-end and on August 15, the loop numbers 2 and 3 will be inaugurated. Putting up a Greenfield project is much easier than one like this. As far as Jayadeva grade separator is concerned, it will be thrown open to public on July 31.

Future projects for roads…
I don't vote for flyovers. The flyovers will only shift the congestion further as we have seen in the case of Anand Rao Circle flyover. Grade separator and roads on stilts are future solutions for high-density traffic. We plan to execute and finish the projects that are already underway such as Magadi Road and Ramurthy Nagar underpasses. After this we will take future projects.


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