HC moved against sale of Hubli airport land

HC moved against sale  of Hubli airport land

A public interest litigation has been filed in the High Court of Karnataka questioning the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB) selling land acquired for expansion of the Hubli airport to private parties.

D Govidndrao, Dasharat Bhojagar and Krishnappa Belleri, who parted with their land for the airport expansion, have moved the Court claiming that the Board had sold land to Infosys, Deshpande Foundation and Ananth Residency at much more than the price at which it was acquired.

The KIADB, Principal Secretary to Infrastructure Development Department, KIADB development officer, IT-major Infosys Ltd, Deshpande Foundation, a non-governmental organisation started by venture capitalist Gururaj Deshpande, and Ananth Residency, a hotel owned by Ramesh Shetty, a close associate of former chief minister Jagadish Shettar - have been named as respondents in the petition.

According to the petitioners, the Airport Authority of India (AAI) had requested the State government to acquire 658 acre of land for the expansion of Hubli airport, in 2007.

However, the KIADB, on the instruction of Infrastructure Development Department acquired 707.4 acre at Gokul village, adjacent to the airport, by paying a compensation of Rs 26 lakh per acre. Of the total acquired land, the KIADB handed over 599.21 acre to the Airport Authority, retaining 108.19 acre with it.

The petitioners have alleged that the Board has sold sold 50 acre of the acquired land to Infosys, 12.26 acre to Deshpande Foundation and 1.39 acre to Ananth Residency for Rs 50 lakh per acre. They have contended that selling land acquired for airport expansion to private parties is in violation of the Section 28 (8) of KIADB Act, 1966.

According to law, the land acquired for public utility purposes should be returned to the original owners if it (land) was not utilised for the purpose for which it was acquired.
“Diversion of the acquired land is clear violation of the Section 28 (8) KIADB Act, 1966.

Further, the KIADB has paid only Rs 26 lakh per acre to the farmers and sold the same land to private parties for Rs 50 lakh per acre. The acquired land, if it is not utilised for the purpose it was acquired for, should be returned back to the original land owners,” the petitioners said.

They have sought the Court to annul the sale and return the excess land to the owners.

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