Palike has no idea who owns MG Road footpath

Palike has no  idea who owns MG Road footpath

Inquiry ordered by ex-commissioner goes nowhere

The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has no idea who owns the pavement on MG Road where the Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) has constructed the Rangoli Metro Art Center (R-MAC), an exhibition -cum-sales centre and an elevated footpath with food joints on it, at a cost of Rs eight crore. 

The R-MAC was inaugurated in May 2013, soon after the Assembly election results were announced. Siddaiah, then BBMP commissioner, had ordered a probe into the ownership of the land, but the inquiry came to a halt once he retired. 

According to the BBMP sources, the inquiry was ordered because the Palike had claimed ownership of the pavement and also asserted that its permission was not sought for any construction taken up there. 

Following the orders for inquiry by Siddaiah, this reporter filed an RTI application on April 26, 2013, with the BBMP East Zone joint commissioner and the chief engineer, seeking a copy of the Palike’s letter granting permission to the BMRCL to construct the elevated footpath, sanctioning the building plan and granting ownership of the pavement where the R-MAC has come up. 

When the BBMP authorities failed to respond, this scribe approached the Karnataka Information Commission (KIC) which is to hear the matter in March. Meanwhile, the BBMP has replied that it had not sanctioned the building plan of the R-MAC. 

Siddaiah told Deccan Herald: “If it’s a pavement, then it certainly belongs to the BBMP. If any construction is going on there — other than installation of railroad infrastructure — then the BBMP’s permission has to be taken. If commercial activities are taking place, there should be some kind of agreement between the BBMP and the BMRCL.” 

The chairperson of the BBMP’s Standing Committee on Town Planning, Umesh Shetty, concurred that permission from the BBMP was mandatory for the BMRCL to construct anything on the pavement, other than railroad infrastructure and the railway station. “The pavement belongs to the BBMP.

No commercial activity can be carried out there without its prior permission. There are advertisements at Metro stations and pillars, for which no approval has been taken from the BBMP,” Shetty contended. 

But the Palike’s public information officer has denied having any document to prove whether the pavement belonged to the BBMP and any letter granting permission to the BMRCL to carry out the construction. 

Mayor B S Satyanarayana said he would check with the BBMP officials if the BMRCL had taken its approval or not. 

BMRCL Managing Director Pradeep Singh Kharola said he was unaware about any provision which mandated that the BBMP’s permission was required for the R-MAC. S Shashirekha Jayaram, chairperson of the BBMP’s Standing Committee, said she would inspect the food joints on the elevated footpath above the R-MAC. 

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