Saturday, May 31, 2008

BJP gives BMIC a NICE hope

BJP gives BMIC a NICE hope
Friday May 30 2008 11:07 IST

S Rajashekara

BANGALORE: THE change of guard in the State politics, has brought smiles to the promoters of the controversial Bangalore- Mysore Infrastructure Corridor Project (BMIC), as they feel that the new government to be headed by B S Yeddyurappa will help them steer all hurdles to complete its first phase.

NICE MD Ashok Kheny, was however, guarded in his statement. ‘’I prefer to wait for the government to take shape and comment a day after it is formed,’’ he said, and added that he did not believe in counting eggs before they hatched.

On Wednesday, former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy had threatened that the JD(S) would protest any attempt to give additional land to the BMIC. He had even alleged that the BJP was getting ready to give additional lands to the BMIC.

The Rs 3,500 crore BMIC project promoted by the NICE, landed in a string of controversies and legal wrangles ever since the work started 11 years ago. The project aims to construct 111 km of expressway between Bangalore and Mysore, besides promoting five townships.

It was given a green signal during the H D Deve Gowda government and allowed to acquire 18,313 acres, including 5,119 acres for road construction and the remaining land for five townships across the expressway.

Gowda, however, turned his guns on the NICE promoters during the 2002 Kanakapura by-election, where he alleged that the NICE had been given an additional 2,800 acres by the subsequent S M Krishna government for the construction of a peripheral ring road around Bangalore at a throwaway price.

The project landed in fresh controversies after the Dharam Singh-led Congress- JD(S) coalition government assumed office in 2002, as the JD(S) continued its tirade against NICE MD Ashok Kheny.

Later in 2007, the JD(S) attempted to table a Bill to take over the BMIC project from NICE. But Kheny had managed to find support in coalition partner BJP leaders, who boycotted the Cabinet meeting convened by Kumaraswamy, to discuss the proposed Bill. It was from here on that the relations between the JD(S) and the BJP went from bad to worse, before calling it quits in October 2007.

Recently, the Election Commission had stayed the Governor’s decision to release land for the completion of the first phase project, citing moral code of conduct. Bail granted to two Naxals.


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