Saturday, May 23, 2009

UB City row: Lokayukta furious with BBMP

UB City row: Lokayukta furious with BBMP
By: B V Shiva Shankar Date: 2009-05-21 Place:Bangalore

The corruption watchdog is outraged that the municipality is trashing its notices asking it how it allowed large-scale violations by the posh mall

The Lokayukta may ask the government to punish the BBMP for covering up UB City's municipal violations.

"They want to protect the violators, and escape from their own responsibilty," said Justice N Santhosh Hegde, Lokayukta. "We will approach the government in a week's time."

The Lokayukta had sent a show cause notice to the BBMP asking it how it had allowed the UB Group to encroach a public road.

The BBMP formed an independent committee to look into the problem, and it gave a clean chit to the UB Group, thereby questioning the Lokayukta's credibility.

The Lokayukta then sent them a notice, which they ignored. "If they don't have courtesy to reply to our notices, we have no option but to take the issue to its logical end," said Hegde.

No notice

Dr Subramanya, BBMP commissioner, said he had not received any showcause notice.

"The committee we formed is legitimate, and we have to stick to its findings," he said. "If the Lokayukta goes to the government, I have no issues."

Subramanya said BBMP and Lokayukta see eye to eye in many issues except in the case of UB City.

Terming the differences unfortunate, he said, "I don't want to antagonise the Lokayukata."

The government may admonish the BBMP and order correction of the violations in UB City, which could mean partial demolition.

Officials of UB Group said they didn't want to comment.

In another development, the BBMP has issued a notice to the UB Group, reminding it of its responsibilty to repair and maintain Vittal Malya Road, named after group chairman Vijay Mallya's father.

The BBMP has given the group a week's time, and threatened to change the name if the group did not comply. "Let us see how they respond," said Puttaswamy, joint commisioner, BBMP.

However, an officer in BBMP doubted whether the government would go against Mallya.

"It involves big people," he said.

UB City's violations
>>The width of Vittal Malya Road was 21 m before the construction of UB City. It is just 13 m now, according to the Lokayukta.
>>Before constructing UB City, the land was used for residential structures. The UB Group has not taken BDA permission to convert it into a commercial site.
>>UB City has not followed building by-laws. It has no mandatory setback or fire engine space.


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