Middlemen strike gold in the garb of ridding garbage

They pay peanuts to losers of property for landfills, benefit from TDR

The City earned a bad name for itself, due to the unprecedented garbage crisis. Consequently, efforts are being made in bits and pieces to dispose of waste in a scientific and eco-friendly manner.

Amidst this is what can be called a stinking deal for new landfill sites, with middlemen getting to make a fortune and landlosers getting peanuts. 
 
A few months ago, protests by residents in the vicinity of landfill sites led to a search for new ones, for dumping and processing the refuse, in and around Bangalore. This is where land sharks saw a windfall. Kodiyala Karenahalli in Ramanagar district, which comes under Bangalore Mysore Infrastructure Corridor Area Development Authority, was among the sites selected.

In its January 3 order, the government authorised the Palike to acquire 40 acres and nine guntas at Kodiyala Karenahalli under Transferable Developmental Rights (TDR) from land owners. Though the civic body and the government could have directly acquired land directly from the property owners, they chose to do so through ‘authorised representatives’, an euphemism for middlemen, as described by a Palike officer.

The civic body put out advertisements for ‘authorised representatives’ on February 27.
It found one and the 'authorised representative' has already started working in the area. He initially offered Rs 10 lakh to Rs 15 lakh per acre, but poor response made him jack it up to Rs 30 lakh to Rs 40 lakh, paid in the form of TDR.

His offer came with a rider: the land losers either take the offer or be content with Rs 15 lakh per acre. The 40 acres of land at Kodiyala Karenahalli (zone C) will fetch TDR at the rate of Rs 900 per sq ft. While landlosers get Rs 92 per sq ft, the middlemen pocket Rs 808 per sq ft.

Activist C M Manjunath said, “This is a deal in which land losers get merely Rs 16 crore and the middleman gains Rs 132.59 crore, without spending much.”

The middleman, sources said, has secured the General Power of Attorney (GPA) from farmers. He will keep the TDR and pay a paltry sum to farmers, sources said. BBMP Commissioner Siddaiah refused to comment, saying the government has passed an order in this regard.

Congress leader in the BBMP Council, M K Gunashekar, has termed this deal shady and demanded that the Palike authorities table the proposal before the Council for discussion.

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