Nirmala OKs land swap for city projects

Nirmala OKs land swap for city projects

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. PTI file photo

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said she has instructed her ministry to allow civic authorities in Bengaluru to take up infrastructure work on defence land, breathing new life into several projects that were stuck for years.

Sitharaman was in the city on Saturday to hold talks with Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy on at least 10 infrastructure projects that require defence land, including road widening and railway overbridges.

“We have now agreed that the state government will give us land of equal value after their Cabinet approves in exchange for defence land. I’ve clearly instructed my ministry to allow construction without waiting for the equal value land,” Sitharaman told reporters at a joint press conference with Kumaraswamy.

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) requires a total of 16.52 acres of defence land for various projects. The state government has agreed to transfer 209.8 acres of land in and around Bengaluru worth Rs 488.42 crore to the Defence ministry, which will part with 16.52 acres in the city worth Rs 282 crore. “We have had an amiable, conducive and positive agreement,” Sitharaman said.

The Defence Minister said there were land-related issues outside Bengaluru. “However, due to the notification by the Election Commission of India, I can’t talk about issues outside Bengaluru,” she said. 

The land exchange deal will help resume projects that were on hold for over five years, Kumaraswamy said. “These projects will now start without any illegalities or violations,” he said. Last month, Kumaraswamy had led a delegation to meet Sitharaman in Delhi to discuss the land exchange deal in the presence of vice-chiefs of the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force.

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