PRR held as BDA struggles to fund land acquisition

A decade has passed, yet the much-hyped Peripheral Ring Road project remains nothing more than a dream on paper. Though the implementing agency, the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), recently renewed hope of implementing the project, it is now struggling to mobilise the funds required to compensate property owners. The BDA has now drawn up various options to fund the compensation, or at least minimise its cost.

The BDA has sought the government’s approval to collect betterment charges within a one-and-a-half-kilometre radius on either side of the road once the project is completed. It is also contemplating providing developed land to property owners (a majority of them are farmers), issuing of TDR, premium FAR, etc. The BDA is expecting the central government to give financial assistance for acquisition of the land, but nothing has been finalised yet. As the money involved for acquiring land is huge, BDA may have to borrow loans from the financial institutions.

BDA commissioner Rajkumar Khatri said, “It requires Rs.8,100 crore to acquire the 1,810 acres required for the project. We are working on various options to mobilise funds.” The BDA notified land 10 years ago, but could not acquire properties due to legal hurdles and other issues.

As per estimations, it will cost Rs.11,950 crore to implement the PRR project, which stretches 65 km, starting from Tumkur Road to Hosur Road, linking major roads like Bellary Road, Old Madras Road and Sarjapur Road. Though the PRR project helps to decongest Outer Ring Road, one has to pay a toll to use the road. BDA officials say that the toll rate will be as applicable on National Highways, falling under the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI).

The official said that the BDA has estimated it requires to spend Rs3,085 crore as project cost and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has come forward to finance it. The state government had also approached the central government seeking financial assistance for the project.

Another BDA official said, “The government is seeking a permit to collect betterment charge from the layouts, residential and commercial establishments that are going to come up either side of the road. The state government has already given the green signal for collection of fees within a one-kilometer radius on either side of the road. Now there is proposal to increase the radius to 1.5 kilometers. The betterment charge could be collected during the implementation of the project, or after its completion.”

Speaking to media, KJ George, Bengaluru development minister, said that he has called a review meeting on the PRR. “A few days back, I was re-inducted into the cabinet. The development of the PRR will be reviewed in the coming week. The state cabinet had taken up the formation of a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV). In the coming meeting we will deliberate on how to go about the project.”

To boost the project, the state government took the decision on the formation of a SPV for the project’s speedy implementation. It has been three months, however, and the state government is yet to decide on how it will function, its powers and obligations, etc.

An official said that a senior IAS officer of the rank of head of urban development department, chairman or commissioner of the BDA, could be the head of the SPV along with other technical staff, to implement the project. “It is up to the government to decide on the formation of the SPV. The proposal has been made for the speedy implementation of the project,” said the commissioner.

credits Bangalore Mirror

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