BDA at it again, tries to lay claim on beggars' land

In a clear violation of the High Court orders, BDA engineers along with contractors entered the Colony situated on Magadi Road on Tuesday and tried to put up a board displaying their ownership on the property.

Pursuant to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the High Court questioning the decision of the State to hand over 123.30 acres of land to the BDA, the Court had ordered status quo and told the involved parties not to proceed till the next hearing on December 7.

Despite the clear instruction, BDA officials pretended to be unaware of the Court’s direction and tried to install a board proclaiming their ownership.

According to sources in the Social Welfare department, officials at the Beggars’ Colony spoke to the BDA engineers and told them they could not place the board on the premises.

“We told them that the transfer of the land was only on paper and there was no indication of a physical transfer of land. Beggars are housed here and they cannot be displaced in a second. A scheme has to be prepared for their relocation and resettlement. It’s a lengthy process and cannot happen overnight,” the sources said.

In an order dated June 6, 2010, about 123.30 acres of land was transferred to the BDA. Out of this, 10 acres is marked for a 800-bed super speciality hospital.

Court objects

The officials also showed them a copy of the Court order, before convincing them to retreat. “There are clear instructions by the Court that nobody should claim the land. How can they come like this?” the sources questioned.

This is not the first time that BDA has showed its overeagerness to occupy the land.
Earlier too, unmindful of the litigation, the BDA went ahead and unveiled an Expression of Interest in June, this year, describing its unbridled commercial ambitions for the place.

The BDA had asked people to respond to the plan of constructing a convention centre, a star hotel, commercial and retail centre, office space and entertainment centre over land spanning 113.30 acres.

Subsequently, the BDA also published a blueprint on its website and has appointed a third party consultant to draft a design for optimum utilisation of the land.

The Social Welfare department is now planning to write a letter to the State government complaining about the change of plans and asking it to re-examine the earlier order. 

“The survey numbers allotted to us originally for the resettlement of the beggars are quite different from what they are saying now. The land that has been given to us now is completely unsuitable for occupation. They have changed the survey number without consulting us,” an official from the department complained.

Further, the official said the original agreement stated that any deviation from the original plan required a fresh proposal and a fresh order and this had not been done.
“They have taken the decision unilaterally and are playing with the lives of the poorer sections,” the official rued.

The department is also planning to present statistics of beggars in the State in a bid to focus the attention on the question of accommodation.

“A survey in 10 Assembly segments has shown us that there are 4,000 beggars. Where is the government planning to provide dormitory facilities, hospitals and warehouses for all these people on the small land allotted to us?” the official questioned.

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