BENGALURU: After the BJP alleged that alternative sites were being indiscriminately allotted to a handful of influential individuals, the Karnataka government on Monday directed the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) to halt such allotments.
Alternative sites are awarded to those who lose their land to infrastructure projects or to those who cannot take possession of BDA allotted sites owing to litigation. Under the pretext of applying for alternative sites, individuals often exploit loopholes to acquire property in upscale localities.
In the assembly, opposition leader Jagadish Shettar alleged that one of the beneficiaries of the “Rs 10,000-crore scam” was a business partner of CM Siddaramaiah’s son.
Trashing the allegation of irregularities in the allotment of 2 acres in BTM Layout to a firm that has ties to his son’s business partner, Siddaramaiah said, “Our government is transparent. Nothing to hide. It is unfair to mention my son’s name.” Development minister KJ George said, “Alternative sites will not be awarded henceforth. Officials who collude with those trying to illegally claim alternative sites will face strict action.” The Congress government has allotted 373 alternative sites since it came to power in May 2013, and the BJP regime had awarded 1,631 sites from 2008 to April 2013. This is not the first time the house is debating alternative sites. The government had asked former IAS officer H Shashidhar to probe the discrepancies and he has submitted report to the house.
“The government has accepted the Shashidhar committee recommendations and the BDA commissioner has been directed to implement them. All previous orders on alternative sites will be withdrawn,” George said.
Shettar cited the example of developer MM Hanumanthe Gowda who has been allotted 45 sites, distributed among his family members. Shettar added that Gowda had procured 181 sites from poor land owners through general power of attorney (GPA) and had secured numerous sites at Jnanabharati Layout, with the help of BDA officials.
Siddaramaiah said, “We have cancelled (allotment of) 12 sites and the process to revoke the allotment of six more is under way. Action will be taken against those who have illegally procured alternative and additional sites.”
Once the BDA notified around 30 guntas on the city outskirts, land sharks would acquire the GPA for the land from a farmer for a paltry sum. Using the existing rules, the BDA would then allot a site, preferably a 50ft x 80ft corner site in an existing BDA layout. “We’ve unearthed nearly 1,000 such cases,” Shettar added.
Credits ET Realty