Bengaluru citizens ask to be compensated for properties lost in demolition drive

Residents of the city gathered at the Town Hall here on Saturday to participate in a programme organised by the Namma Bengaluru Foundation to fight against the alleged nexus of government officials and builders, demanding compensation for properties lost in the recent demolition drive.

Shekhar S, a resident of Doddabommasandra who was present at the venue, alleged that more than 90 per cent of the high-rises in the city didn’t have an occupancy certificate, but no action was initiated against any of the prominent builders. However, people with valid documents received the worst blows during the demolition drive as they were not among the rich and the powerful.

People present at the venue said the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike had lost all credibility to function as the city’s municipal corporation. Citizens whose houses were demolished recently demanded that compensation be provided to them because they had borne the brunt of the civic agency’s inefficiency.

At Ramaswamy, convener of the Anti-Land Grabbing Action Committee, who was present at the meeting, said: “The government has failed to protect Bengaluru from the land mafia and builders’ lobby. Its own officials are involved in looting the city and it is foolhardy to expect the same officials to protect the city.”

“The government targeting the poor and helpless citizens while sparing the rich is barbaric and uncivilised. Houses of poor people were demolished without giving them an opportunity even to relocate; the wealthy were given notices and now attempts were being made to spare them. The city needs a people’s movement against corruption. Our silence only encourages the corrupt,” he said.

Hundreds of Bengaluru citizens and families affected by recent BBMP demolitions shared their concerns and experiences about corruption in BBMP and resolved to fight till the end and signed the petition by Namma Bengaluru Foundation and Rajeev Chandrasekhar, MP, agreed to move the court for justice and also launch a fight against the government, demanding accountability.

Chandrasekhar said he will move the court to identify and prosecute all government officials and builders who cheated citizens. He said he would fight for compensation on humanitarian grounds.

Meanwhile, answering legal queries, Sajan Poovayya, senior advocate, former additional advocate general for Karnataka, said that everyone feels that going to court is a waste of time, and justice will be delayed. However, Rajeev Chandrasekhar and Namma Bengaluru Foundation have proved this theory redundant by getting the NGT [National Green Tribunal] order and helping the government redeem 1 lakh acres. All this was possible because of the legal effort, he said.

“It must be a consorted effort… So do not hesitate to step forward for a legal battle. Demolitions are happening on the basis of a final map available with the BBMP. If you think that your property should not have been demolished… then you should join the fight with NBF and file a petition,” he said.

On similar lines V Balasubramanian, Former Additional Chief Secretary of Karnataka, said: “It’s tragic to see that the government itself is breaching the laws that protect and allow illegal construction on encroached lake beds. The government should follow the Supreme Court’s advice of creating a welfare fund out of heavy penalties, which may be imposed on erring builders who have misused the trust of home buyers.”

Hundreds of citizens signed a court petition and a letter addressed to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah demanding identification of erring officials and builders.

Credits Bangalore Mirror

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