If the Farooq Committee report (on G category site allotments) were a baby, it would be a teething toddler by now – slurring new words like “scam” and “cheats”. Thank god it is not. Only elephant babies spend two years in gestation. It really has been two years since the High Court asked for the formation of a committee to inquire into the eligibility for high-value G category (stray) sites under the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA).
First, the government delayed setting up the committee — it was set up 9 months after the HC order. At the end of the first deadline for report submission came the issue of “no office”, “no furniture” and the deadline was extended by another 6 months. In August, when it was time for the report – surprise – the new deadline was pushed by another 9 months. Which means the report is now due only in May 2017. In its recent application for extension of the term, the government told the HC that inquiries into 120 cases had concluded. The process was tedious, considering every allottee had to be inquired into and proceedings had to be carried out.
But according to reliable sources, this is yet another ploy to buy time and push the deadline further. “The G category site list has the who’s who in the government and bureaucracy. The percentage of ineligible beneficiaries is also high. The government will stand exposed if the findings are glaring. What is stopping the government from making public the 120 cases that have been completed, in the first phase,” asked a source.
The G category sites, or the stray sites, are allotted to the “privileged” at the discretion of the chief minister. Normally, it has to be allotted to people in the public eye as directed by the government, such as sportspersons with special achievements, citizens who’ve made exceptional contributions in arts, science or literature, military and ex-military personnel, dependents of state government servants who died during service, or freedom fighters. However, over the years, a majority of the allotments have been done for the undeserving.
In 2010, a writ petition was filed in the high court questioning the allotments. Subsequently in 2012, the HC held the allotment of stray sites as illegal and directed the government to constitute an inquiry committee to go into the individual cases and decide if they were eligible. Apart from other things, the allegations were that several MLAs, MLCs and other influential individuals had submitted false affidavits claiming they did not own any site in the city. Although an inquiry committee was set up, headed by Justice Padmaraj, which looked into 300 site allotments, the government did not act. And now it’s the Farooq Committee.
Credits Bangalore Mirror