Iskcon, Mantri Developers building apartments on 'stormwater drain'
Documents available with Deccan Herald show that there was an SWD in survey numbers 56, 59 and 60 of Doddakallasandra village under Uttarahalli hobli in Bengaluru South taluk of Bengaluru Urban district but now structures for this large residential project have been built on it.
The Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) Commissioner, T Sham Bhatt, confirmed the presence of the SWD on the said land. “I am fully aware of the project and the presence of an SWD there. While approving the project, I was categorical that it be protected and handed over to the Revenue Department,” he told Deccan Herald on Wednesday.
The Assistant Commissioner (Bengaluru South subdivision), L C Nagaraj, said stormwater drains shown in the village could neither be acquired nor sold. No construction activity is allowed either.
The land where the project is coming up belongs to Iskcon Charities and its subsidiary organisations. It purchased the land at an auction conducted by the Karnataka State Financial Corporation in 2004. Iskcon had proposed to construct India Heritage Theme Park, which was later renamed Krishna Leela Theme Park, on the said land.
One of the clauses in the sale deed is that the land should be strictly used for industrial purpose. The Iskcon management, however, asserts that since it bought the land by auction and has an absolute sale deed, it can construct residential apartments. Besides, as the land has now come under the ‘Mutation Corridor’, Iskcon says there is no need for land conversion from industrial to residential.
Madhu Pandit Das, president of Iskcon Charities, denied the existence of an SWD. “The village maps show it as ‘naala’ (drain) and not ‘rajakaluve’ (SWD). The KIADB (Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board) has acquired that also in 1971 showing it in the notification as ‘Karab’ (Kharaab). Of different types of ‘Karab’ (land), there is one type of ‘Karab’ which can be sold. And these ‘naalas’ end in our land itself and do not go further to Subramanyapura lake if I remember correctly...” he said in an e-mail response to Deccan Herald.
He continued: “The court-supervised auction has sold us the same. These village maps were made in 1950s. The nature of ‘naala’ with time must have changed, even when the KIADB acquired it. Eighteen industries with buildings were running for several years on this land. After we purchased, we demolished all of them. When we purchased, there was no ‘naala’ too.
‘Rajakaluve’ as per revenue norms is always shown in the village map as a thick double line. And ‘naala’ is shown as one line. In our case, it is shown as a thin line.”
Das added that a ‘rajakaluve’ is man-made and will never spread into several branches and abruptly end. Whereas a ‘naala’ is a natural stream due to topography of the land. “Because there was a low-lying area within our land, these streams ended there,” he concluded.
A spokesperson for Mantri Developers said, “The village maps do not show any ‘rajakaluve’ on the land. Nor does the CDP (Comprehensive Development Plan) show any ‘naala’ or ‘rajakaluve’. The High Court has held that once the lands are acquired by the KIADB, any kharaab (land) within the lands is also conveyed and the purchaser acquires (its) ownership. Thus, in this case also, there is no need for regularisation of the ‘kharaab’ (land) present in the lands.”