Visvesvaraya Nagara Layout BDA site owners left in lurch

Visvesvaraya Nagara Layout BDA site owners left in lurch

The fate of many BDA sites owners in 1st Block, Sir M Visvesvaraya Nagara Layout, hangs in the balance. For, the coalition government in 2007 had denotified 10 acres of land after it was allotted to the public.

The land was returned to the original landowners by the H D Kumaraswamy-led government despite the allottees having paid lakhs of rupees to the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), got sites registered in their names, and obtained khata and possession certificate. The original landowners are now preventing the allottees – who are paying taxes for their sites – from claiming their properties.

Documents available with Deccan Herald show that the BDA had acquired 12 acres and 13 guntas of land in Survey No 20 of Nagadevanahalli village, Kengeri Hobli. Three people – Sadhan, Thimmaiah and Gulappa – claimed ownership. In government records, the land existed as Muffet Kaval (pasture land). In 1978, the trio got it allotted in their names. A few local residents reportedly encroached on two acres and 13 guntas, while some others opposed the allotment.

While the land was under litigation, the BDA issued a preliminary notification in 1989 under Section 4 (1) of the BDA Act under the Jnanabharathi Scheme and a final notification in 1994 under Section 6(1) of the same Act. It took nine years for the BDA to accomplish Mahjar under 16(1) of the said Act to acquire only 10 acres of land, and the remaining two acres and 13 guntas are still with the BDA. It carved out 65 sites comprising 22 sites of 4,000 sq ft; 41 of 1,200 sq ft, and two of 2,400 sq ft. Although it was acquired under the Jnanabharathi Scheme, the layout formation was delayed due to litigation and it was attached to Visvesvaraya Layout.

GPA role

Documents show that it was not the owners of the said land, who previously held it in their names, but the General Power of Attorney (GPA) holders K V Nagarathnamma and Purohit Jugraj who applied for denotification. Initially, Jugraj applied for denotification of three acres of land on July 8, 2005, when Dharam Singh was the chief minister. He could not process the application because his tenure was brief. Again, Jugraj applied for denotification on March 17, 2006, when the government was headed by Kumaraswamy. The same day, Nagarathnamma too applied for denotification of seven acres. On June 27, 2007, the Kumaraswamy government denotified the land, setting aside reservations by the BDA Denotification Committee.

Regarding the three acres of land, the then principal secretary of Urban Development Department, Lakshmi Venkatachalam, had noted, “The request for denotification may be rejected.”

For the remaining seven acres, the BDA Committee wrote to the chief minister on June 5, 2006, asking him “land for layout purpose.”

CAG rap

The illegal denotification drew flak from the Comptroller & Auditor General. In Report Number-3, 2012, titled 'Performance audit on denotification of land by government and allotment of sites by BDA', the CAG noted: “Once the land notified for public purpose has been taken possession under 16 (1) of the LA Act, the government has no powers to withdraw the acquisition proceedings even if publication under Section 16 (2) had not been issued.” 

Shrikant Channal, one of the victims of government apathy, rued that the BDA has not intimated site owners till date about the denotification and gave vague replies.

When contacted, BDA Commissioner T Sham Bhatt expressed his ignorance about the case and said he would look into the matter if all facts were placed before him.

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