BBMP razes Indira Canteen built on disputed land

BBMP razes Indira Canteen built on disputed land

This is what remains of the demolished Indira Canteen at SK Garden, Pulakeshinagar. DH Photo/Janardhan B K

In a major embarrassment to the BBMP, an Indira Canteen built on a disputed land was razed just days before it completed one year.

Last year, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike built the canteen on the disputed land at SK Garden (Ward 61), Pulakeshinagar, despite a 2011 Karnataka high court ruling to maintain status quo.

In March, Justice P S Dinesh Kumar passed an interim order, giving the BBMP six weeks' time to shift the canteen elsewhere after the counsel representing the civic body told the court that he has advised the Palike to "remove the constructions".

In 2011, the high court ruled status quo on the nature of the land following a dispute over its ownership between the BBMP and the Navodaya Gruha Nirmana Sahakara Sangha Niyamitha, which moved the court challenging a civil court order. But the civic body overlooked the matter and constructed the canteen. Sources said it was demolished about 20 days ago.

The Indira Canteens was the pet project of former chief minister Siddaramaiah and was inaugurated by Congress president Rahul Gandhi on August 15, 2017, in the run up to the Assembly polls.

The project ran into controversies as officials, in their hurry to set up the cheap eateries in each ward, built structures on disputed land, parks, lake buffer zones and temple lands, besides felling trees much to public consternation.

Citizens inconvenienced 

Legalities apart, demolishing the canteen has put people in trouble. "I work in the nearby (under-construction) building and my family used to have lunch at the canteen. (Now) we are paying heavily to eat at a nearby hotel," said Nirmala, a construction worker.

Shankar Prasad, a local resident, said more than 200 people depended on the canteen for affordable food. "People are suffering because of the BBMP's mistake," he added.

Mayor R Sampath Raj admitted to DH that the civic body made a mistake. "We shouldn't have built the canteen at the disputed land, when the matter was still in court," he said. "We have identified a place close to the old canteen and an eatery will come up soon," he said.

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