Applicants in lurch as BDA hikes flat prices

The decision of Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) to increase the prices of flats being constructed near Kengeri for economically weaker sections of society has evoked strong protests from the beneficiaries and RTI activists who view the hike as a conspiracy to facilitate builders to buy the flats.

They have demanded immediate intervention of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and withdrawal of the notices issued by the BDA to the applicants in regard to the price hike.

According to RTI activist B M Shiva Kumar, the hike is unjust and the BDA’s claim of sharp rise in the prices of construction materials can’t be accepted. The hike in the prices of construction materials over the last one year is nominal. 

The BDA’s decision to sell the flats in public auction is a conspiracy. It’s a big game to facilitate the builders to buy flats being constructed for poor people. The chief minister should immediately intervene and prevent the injustice being meted out to the poor, he demanded.

The BDA issued a notification on October 12, 2011, towards the construction of houses for economically weaker sections. The BDA aimed to construct 13,172 flats in 13 places at Valagerehalli second phase, Halagevaderahalli, Doddagubbi, Ganjur, Alur and Kothnur in and around Kengeri and fixed Rs 7.5 lakh for a two-room flat and collected Rs 94,000 as initial deposit from each applicant.

Revised prices

The BDA took a decision to revise the flat prices at a meeting this February. The price of a two-room flat was increased from Rs 7.5 lakh to Rs 17.60 lakh.

Notices were served on the applicants directing them to give consent for the hike within 15 days. 

However, the notice just mention about the hike and did not specify the amount, leading to confusion among the applicants as they did not know who much additional amount they were expected to pay. The notice also stated that the BDA would cancel the applications and return the money if they failed to give consent within the stipulated time.

The BAD attributed the hike to the increase of construction costs, cost of project supervision and expansion of the flat size. 

JnNURM funds denied

Deputy secretary of BDA (Distribution division) K Anuradha said the BDA had decided to implement the project partially using the funds under JnNRUM scheme, but the JnNRUM scheme officials refused to grant the funds for the construction of flats, each costing more than Rs five lakh. Moreover, the size of a two-room flat was increased from 600 sqft to 830 sqft. Hence, the hike was inevitable, she justified.

Many issues were considered before taking a decision to hike the prices. “We have not mentioned the hike in the notice as pricing pattern is different for each category. The BDA would separately inform the applicants about the amount hiked,” she said.

Vijay Kumar, an applicant, told Deccan Herald , that  BDA’s notice had come as a shock. 
“I had paid Rs 94,000 in October 2011. The BDA did not issue anything for one-and-half years, but suddenly asked me to approve the hike. It’s injustice to the poor and our dream of having a flat in the City remains a impossible,”  he said.

The BDA should have discussed the refusal of grants under JnNRUM scheme with the State government and sough funds from it funds under special scheme, opined Renuka, a resident of Kengeri.

Another applicant Rajgopal expressed displeasure over BDA’s stand of not informing the applicant about the hike and urged the State government to cancel the BDA’s price hike notice.

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