Sunday, July 29, 2007

30,000 acres encroached upon in Bangalore

30,000 acres encroached upon in Bangalore

The Hindu

Panel recommends prosecution of land grabbers and officials who connived with them

Names of offenders to be revealed in subsequent report

“Administrative machinery failed to take action”

BANGALORE: The Joint Committee of Legislature on Land Encroachment in Bangalore City/Urban District headed by A.T. Ramaswamy on Thursday tabled its second interim report in the Legislative Assembly detecting encroachment of about 30,000 acres of land belonging to different departments and statutory bodies in the district.

While the 130-page report (with annexures) presents a picture of the extent of encroached land and the ways in which this has occurred, it stops short of naming the offenders. It does promise to provide these names in a subsequent report.

The committee comprised 12 MLAs and five MLCs and a host of senior officers. The Joint Legislature Committee on encroachments in Bangalore Urban district, in its interim report (part two), has recommended “certain basic and long lasting” measures, including criminal prosecution of land grabbers, persons who abet such activities and the officials concerned who connived with them, for preventing encroachments in future. The report was tabled in the Legislative Council on Thursday by the committee member “Mukhyamantri” Chandru, and by its chairman A.T. Ramaswamy in the Legislative Assembly. It has recommended prosecution of offenders under the existing provisions of the IPC, the recently amended Land Revenue Act, and the “Goonda Act”.

The committee said there was a dire need to attend to “certain basic matters” on priority if the issue of land grabbing had to be regulated effectively. For instance, the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike reported that a 60’x40’ residential plot in the vicinity of Jayanagar Shopping Complex was auctioned at Rs. 22,000 a square foot. The price of that plot, when converted, would be Rs. 96 crore an acre. The land value on the outskirts and suburban areas of Bangalore was estimated at Rs. 1 crore to Rs. 4 crore an acre.

There were some reported instances of “daylight murders” of people related to real estate business in Bangalore city in March 2007.

In the light of the expansion of the area of BBMP from 250 sq km to 790 sq km encompassing seven city municipal councils and a town municipal council, the land grabbing activities were bound to increase manifold. Therefore, it was necessary to find “basic solutions” to regulate “this menace” effectively, the committee said.

Referring to its first interim report, the committee said: “The administrative machinery has utterly failed to take action against the land grabbers and their official abettors and promoters.”


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