Has BDA violated norms for allotting sites?

BENGALURU: The Bangalore Development Authority is known to deny applicants sites because either they or their family members already own one. However, the agency allotted sites to at least 115 politicians who contested the 2013 assembly elections in violation of this rule. The beneficiaries include 57 MLAs.

Official documents indicate that politicians, cutting across party lines, have benefited from the BDA’s decision to allot sites though they already own properties. This violates Rule 10(3) of the BDA (Allotment of Sites) Rules, 1984. The rule says that the BDA cannot, under any category, grant sites to those who, or whose family members, are already owners of a site.

BDA commissioner Rajkumar Khatri said: “I cannot comment based on general allegations that so many of them have been given sites. I need to see the specifics.” Data about these politicians owning one or multiple properties was obtained from affidavits submitted by politicians to the Election Commission. Copies of these affidavits are available with TOI. The Karnataka High Court, while decreeing that agencies such as BDA are to function in accordance with the same provisions mandated for state and central governments, had stated that the government was the biggest service organization. All its actions must be fair and non-arbitrary in nature and aimed towards ensuring people’s welfare, it had observed.

In sync with this observation, the BDA planned layouts for the people’s welfare. However, a majority of sites in such layouts are of dimensions smaller than 40x60ft. For instance, in the recently announced Kempegowda Layout, 1,500 of the proposed 5,000 sites measure 20x30ft, while 2,000 are 30x40ft sites. However, no site allotted to the 115 politicians in question are smaller than 40x60ft.Most, in fact, are 50x80ft sites. Granting these properties at subsidized prices to people in positions of power defeats the purpose of such layouts. Legal experts said different yardsticks for the common man and the powerful are against the law and violates Article 14 of the Constitution.

Additional chief secretary and BDA chairman Mahendra Jain has directed the BDA secretary to investigate the allotment of site to an MLA, against whom a complaint has been registered. “We’ll have to see how these sites have been allotted, whether these people wrongly declared about not having a site before availing one from the BDA. We’ll initiate appropriate action.”

Credits ET Realty

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