Officials connived in BDA land encroachment, says CAG

1,039 acres gobbled up in 13 layouts out of 149 formed by Authority

 The report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has hinted at large-scale irregularities in the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) in recovering encroached land to the extent of 1,039 acres in its jurisdiction. Here are a few startling examples of blatant ‘encroachments’ by private parties and ‘connivance’ of BDA officials.

In October 1979, BDA allotted a civic amenity (CA) site (number 7), admeasuring 37,625 sq ft in RPC layout, to a private trust for constructing a school. The Trust encroached upon the adjacent CA site (number 9) for expanding the school building, on land earmarked for a park.

According to an initial report by the Assistant Executive Engineer (West) in 2008, the Trust encroached upon the entire area of 1,692.70 sq metre of the CA site. The BDA decided to resolve the issue by allotting that site also to the Trust at a rate of Rs 4.8 crore in September 2010.

However, following another inspection of the site in March 2011, this penalty of Rs 4.8 crore was revised to a paltry sum of Rs 88 lakh, considering only 258.08 sq metre of land had been encroached upon for the construction of the building and the rest had been allowed for constructing a playground for the school.

Here’s another case: A CA site admeasuring 300x300 sq ft had been allotted to a club in HAL-II Stage. On receiving a representation from the club in July 2004, the BDA chairman allotted (in July 2005) an additional area of 1,525.10 sq metre in a park adjacent to the club, subject to the condition that the area would be maintained as a park.

But the club decided to open a lounge bar on the park land. A showcause notice was first issued by BDA in 2008 and the allotment of the site was cancelled in May 2008. But within days, the cancellation order was revoked.

The CAG report touches upon only 13 of the 149 layouts formed by BDA over the past 35 years. The estimated land value of the encroached sites is stated to be a whopping Rs 24,075 crore.

Also, the CAG said that as of March 2012, 61 CA sites had been encroached upon. The revenue potential of these sites is estimated to be Rs 60.73 crore. As per the CAG report, the BDA failed to maintain the Asset Register, incorporating the details of the assets available. “Out of the 149 layouts formed, details of land audit conducted in respect of only 13 layouts had been furnished to audit (March 2012),” states the report.

As per the available records alone, the CAG said, an extent of 1,039 acres and 33 guntas have not been utilised for the formation of sites as the same had been either ‘built up’ or ‘encroached upon’ in the 13 layouts formed between 1969 and 2002.

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