Friday, May 29, 2009

Turf club relocation may hit roadblock

Turf club relocation may hit roadblock

Sharath S. Srivatsa
There is a court order against use of tank beds for private purposes
. — File Photo: K. Murali Kumar

In transition: Horse-riding classes being conducted at the Bangalore Turf Club
BANGALORE: The allotment of 95 acres of land at Chikkajala-Doddajala villages on the city’s outskirts to relocate Bangalore Turf Club (BTC) may hit a roadblock, as restrictions have been imposed by a court on utilisation of land in tank beds.

The Government had asked the Bangalore Turf Club to vacate from its premises before December 31, 2009, and had offered the 95-acre land on the dry Doddajala Amani tank.

However, the Karnataka High Court had, in a public interest litigation petition, granted an interim stay order (in 1995) that prevents usage of tank beds in metropolitan areas other than for irrigation purpose.

“The Revenue Department had asked our opinion in the matter pertaining to allotment of land and we have cited the High Court order in our report. At the moment, the tank bed can be allotted to the BTC provided the Revenue Department, a party in the petition, gets the stay order vacated,” an official in the Minor Irrigation Department told The Hindu.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that even a senior Minor Irrigation Department official had, during a meeting with the BTC authorities, suggested that the land could be granted to the club, subject to the matter being processed legally in terms of the existing court order.

However, some officials at the meeting indicated that the status of land could be reviewed as the tank bed had been dry for the last few decades, and also proposed to de-classify the tank bed at Chikkajala-Doddajala through a Gazette notification.

But such a move could set a precedent for other individuals and institutions to seek similar plots of land, feared the Minor Irrigation Department official. Such demands have been turned down by the Government in the past. “At a time when there is tremendous pressure on land, many tank beds have been encroached upon in the city, and the department is trying to safeguard them,” the official said.

He said that such plots have in the past been given only for development activities and drinking water purposes.

“We have given Bellandur and Varthur tanks to Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to develop them. Tanks cannot be given for private purposes,” the official said. BTC Chairman P.V. Shetty said that the identified land had been dry for almost four decades now and the Government had assured that it would take care of the procedural aspects of transferring the land.


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