Tank land worth Rs 70 crore reclaimed

BDA had formed a layout illegally on Venkatarayanakere

Tank land worth Rs 70 crore reclaimed

 Bangalore Urban district authorities on Friday reclaimed Venkatarayanakere on which the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) had illegally formed a layout in Gubbalala village near Uttarahalli under Bangalore South taluk.

The layout is part of Banashankari 6th Stage extension.  A large number of revenue officials along with a posse of policemen from Ramanagara district police and the BDA officials dashed to the spot on Friday morning. Armed with four earthmovers, trucks and around 50 labourers, the revenue officials fixed the tank boundary. It evoked curiosity mixed with awe among many onlookers watching the demarcation process. However, there was no resistance.

Bangalore South Tahsildar Dr Dayananda said the tank in four acres and 15 guntas of land is worth about Rs 70 crore as at the prevailing market rate. He added that the BDA had formed the layout way back in 2003.

The presence of senior police and revenue officials with earthmovers horrified site owners. Tears rolled down their cheeks as the earthmovers started digging the tank bed and demolished the side drains.

They feared that the machines would raze their homes too. However, the residents heaved a sigh of relief that the illegalities of the BDA finally came to light and ended their miseries in the absence of any facility in the layout.

The layout comprising 124 sites has 18 houses and two sheds constructed. The BDA layout having sites of 600 sq ft each was meant for the weaker section. As if the weaker section is not entitled for any recreational facilities, the BDA did not make any provision for playground, park and civic amenities.

DH exposé

In a bid to save Subramanyapura Lake which faced encroachment, Deccan Herald focused on protecting the water body’s major stormwater drain (SWD). In the process, this reporter obtained the village map prepared in 1903 by the British rulers.

The map showed the existence of a tank in survey number 8 of Gubbalala village, which was connected to Subramanyapura Lake through the SWD. This revelation led to an intense investigation, which included obtaining revenue records through different sources including the RTI.

Finally, on June 12, 2013, Deccan Herald came out with a report ‘How BDA stole lake land to form a layout,’ exposing the illegalities of the BDA. For nearly a year, the revenue as well as the BDA officials were in denial but finally confessed that the layout was formed illegally. As the BDA gave up its claim on the tank, some vested interests tried to grab the remaining portion of the tank. A month ago, two individuals, K Nageshwara Rao and J Kumaraswamy, lodged complaints with the Bangalore Metropolitan Task Forceand Lokayukta, the State ombudsman.

Land sharks driven away

While the BMTF is learnt to have booked a case of cheating under Section 420 of the IPC against the unknown BDA officials, Upa Lokayukta Justice Subhash Adi grilled the BDA as well as the revenue officials for their criminality. Justice Adi’s intervention also drove away the land sharks active in the region.

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