Sumanahalli Society land lease cancelled

State government gives only 5 out of 48 acres to Society, keeps the rest

 The State government has passed an order cancelling the land lease given to the Sumanahalli Society situated on Magadi Road.

Following the Cabinet decision, the government on October 22, 2012 passed the order giving only 5 acres and 23 guntas out of the 48 acres to Sumanahalli Society and decided to keep the rest with itself. However, the matter is being adjudicated by the High Court and the order is subject to the final disposal of the case.

Despite protests, the government has determinedly gone ahead with issuing the order and placed several conditions on issuing a fresh lease of 20 years at the rate of Rs 1,000 per acre per annum for the 5 acres and 23 guntas.

The government has stated that no permanent structures can be put up on the land and whatever structures exist on the rest of the land have to be transferred at the Society’s own cost. Further, the government states that the Society can only give treatment and rehabilitate only leprosy patients.

At present, the Society also caters to HIV positive patients, physically disabled, destitute people and orphans.

The fact that there is a PIL and writ petition pending in the High Court, challenging the decision of the government to take back the land, has not deterred the State from issuing the order.

The Court has also directed that no order can be implemented till the final disposal of the case. Yet, the government has also ordered that the lease agreement should be signed within a month of issuing the order. The State has also reserved the right to reclaim the land without issuance of notice, if any of the conditions are violated.

Ironically, the land identified to be given to the Society is the small piece of land located on the other side of Ring Road.

Father George Kannanthanam, the Director of the Society commented that  if the government was really serious about the Society continuing to aid leprosy patients, then it would have given them the land, which already consists of portions built for leprosy units.

“They want us to be pushed into a corner on the other side of the road, so they can move us out of this place entirely,” he said.

Incidentally, the Central Relief Committee (CRC) has also released its proposed plan for developmental activities for both Beggars Colony and the land which is occupied by the Sumanahalli Society. Contrary to earlier claims of building hostels for SC/ST community, the developmental plans consist only of planting sandalwood, teak, coconut trees, vegetable and fruit orchards, medicinal plants and a dairy farm.

The Beggars Colony is also house to most of these plants and trees and it is a mystery why the CRC wants to plant trees on the land on which the Society is located.

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