Owners, Palike spar over land

Lack of clarity in executing projects and enforcing the Transfer of Developmental Rights (TDR) on reluctant property owners by the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to acquire land for its road-widening projects, is not going down well with most Bangaloreans.

With no option left, property owners are dragging the BBMP through the court, leaving infrastructure projects incomplete and deferred for a long time.

Take the example of Hosur-Lakshar Road, which was proposed for widening in 2009. It is yet to be completed, as the BBMP has still not acquired land from private owners in some parts along the road. As many as 47 private properties identified by the BBMP near Adugodi are yet to be acquired for road-widening.

Owners of these properties have rejected the Palike’s TDR offer outright, and have instead sought compensation matching the present land value, or on a par with what the BMRCL gave landlosers for its rail project.

Adugodi Residents’ Welfare Association president Satyanarayanan says there are some commercial establishments that have agreed to TDR.  The BBMP has made some changes in the alignment in the project which has favoured these establishments.

“Those who have their houses located here have not agreed to TDR as it is their ancestral property, which they say cannot be given up for some petty payment in return. The BBMP is planning to acquire land under several Sections of the Land Acquisition Act. But we will definitely not agree to TDR and give away our property,” he says.

Papanna, another property owner, accused the BBMP of bias in acquiring land for road-widening. “There are eight buildings located in the area with khatas mentioning that they will have to hand over their property in case of any infrastructure projects. But these residents are using the local MLA’s recommendations to hamper the BBMP’s plans,” he says.

A landmark building, which might lose its compound for the road project, is the Elgin Apartments. The property owners have been fighting to save their property ever since the Palike took up the project in 2009.

“We have dragged the BBMP through the court stating that it cannot forcibly impose TDR on us. Six months ago, the Palike had brought in excavators to demolish the compound wall. There’s a court injunction, but the BBMP officers are not aware of it,” notes Purushotham, an apartment owner.

However, BBMP officials say they are positive about completing the project, despite facing objections from the public. Out of the 4.05 km of road identified for widening, work on only 2.5 km is pending, an official said.

In South Bangalore, the skills of bus drivers are put to intense test on Ittamadu Road, which links the ring road with AGS Layout. On the narrow 30-foot wide road, buses cross each other, leading to regular traffic jams.

The stretch with a steep slope has many shops and houses lined up on both sides and parking in front of them have added to the already chaotic traffic. Yet, there are drivers who dare to drive rashly on the narrow stretch, leading to frequent accidents. A five-year-old boy was crushed to death right in front of his mother and his grandparents near his house a few years ago.

The BBMP plans to widen the road, but people are unwilling to give up their properties. The cash-starved Palike wants to acquire the properties without compensating the owners monetarily. All that it has is the TDR, which people are not ready to accept.

Rohith Shetty, a shopkeeper, says, “I am still not able to understand the concept of TDR. Is there anyone to enlighten me how it works and how can it compensate the loss of my lone property on this stretch. Is it that I have to run behind people to buy developmental rights. It’s absurd.”

However, commuters plying the stretch are for widening of the road. A few motorists Deccan Herald spoke to said the road was too narrow and had become an accident zone. A senior BBMP officer said notices were issued for acquiring properties for widening the road a few years ago, but due to public outrage, the drive was put on hold.

Comments (+)