Land prices hit the ceiling in Shimoga
The families of two politicians are known to have bought large swathes of land, mainly in the city
The boom in the real estate prices in the city over the last three years has shattered dreams of the less affluent to have a roof over their head, and has also, strangely enough, denied space for government offices.
The spike in the land values, boosted by the investment in the home district of the Chief Minister as also the State BJP president, is seen to be the result of large-scale land purchases by influential politicians.
The families of the two politicians are known to have bought large swathes of land in the district, mainly in the city.
The family of B S Yeddyurappa has bought land in their hometown of Shikaripur, as also in Shimoga city and on the outskirts.
State BJP chief K S Eswarappa, who hails from the city, is also said to have invested heavily in real estate.
Members of Yeddyurappa’s family have set up an educational institute on Sagar Road in association with Prerana Educational Society. Eshwarappa and his kin have set up PACE PU Science College on Honnali Road and Nandana Education Trust on the outskirts of the city.
The real estate boom has helped owners of property in the city and elsewhere in the district, but has affected adversely chances of the lower middle class and the poor to own a roof over their head.
Ramesh, a real estate dealer, told Deccan Herald that the purchase of land by politicians had led to shortage of land available in the market, paving way for steep rise in price. A 30 ft x 40 ft site on the outskirts of the city that used to cost Rs five lakh three years ago now costs Rs 12 -14 lakh.
An unanticipated cascading effect has been the inability of government offices to find office space.
With rents payable fixed long ago and not revised, government officers are finding it difficult to rent or buy properties for their offices, affecting implementation of schemes.
A case in point is the Human Resource Development scheme that is implemented in Mangalore in association with Karnataka Vocational Training and Skill Development Corporation (KVTSDC) in 2009. The department has implemented the scheme in districts such as Kolar, Mandya, Bijapur, Gulbarga, Hubli and in Chamarajnagar but not in Shimoga, home town of the Chief Minister. The reason ? Non-availability of office space.
The scheme is aimed at enhancing employability skills among youth through training classes. The KVTSDC would provide financial assistance of Rs 30 lakh to set up a full-fledged office comprising computers and all other required furniture in one portion of the Employment Exchange office. But, the existing employment exchange office at Channappa Layout in the city is not spacious enough to set up such facilities. Speaking to Deccan Herald, Tanuja S Rampure, District Employment Officer, said she was under “immense pressure” to implement the scheme in the chief minister’s home district but was finding it difficult to find a suitable office space measuring 2,500 sq ft at an affordable price.
“We had identified a suitable office near Jail Circle. I had sent a letter to my superiors seeking permission to rent a new office at Rs 47,000 per month. But, it was rejected,” she says.
The district administration had sanctioned a site measuring 115 ft x 98 ft at Sominakoppa on the outskirts of the city for the construction of employment exchange office, but lack of funds has stalled the plan.