No Urban Development Authority acquired land for parks

No Urban Development Authority acquired land for parks

Lack of funds cited, original owners to get right over land

At a time when lung space in urban areas is fast shrinking, it has now surfaced that none of the Urban Development Authorities (UDAs) in the State, including Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), has been able to acquire lands earmarked as parks, open spaces and public use in their jurisdiction.

And more shocking is the fact that the State government has in a recent circular stated the UDAs have to acquire such lands within five years after the preparation of comprehensive development plan (CDP). If not, the land will automatically go back to the original land owners and they will have the right to use it.

For instance, the BDA had earmarked about 10 per cent of its total 1,219 sq km areas for parks, playgrounds and public use in its 2007-15 CDP. But it has not been able to acquire these lands so far. Number of original land owners have already applied seeking land use conversion (from park and open space to others) so that they can do transactions, BDA Town Planning Member Chowde Gowda said.

Almost all UDAs are running on deficit budget, and they have not been able to generate enough funds to even pay salary to the employees, let alone taking up development works.

With land prices shooting through the roof in the last few years around major cities and towns, it has become impossible for the UDAs to acquire lands meant for parks and open spaces. So much so that UDAs like BDA has decided against formation of new residential layouts, Urban Development department Joint Secretary K G Jagadeesha said.

It is estimated that the BDA would require a whopping Rs 10,000 crore to acquire land earmarked for parks and open space in 2007-15 CDP. As the UDAs were unable to acquire those lands, number of original land owners have dragged the Authorities to court. So the government issued the circular as per the provisions of Section 69(2) of Karnataka Town and Country Planning (KTCP) Act.

As per Section 69(1) of KTCP Act, the UDAs have to not only acquire lands meant for parks and open spaces within five years but also have to give compensation to the land losers. If not, the original land owners’ applications seeking land use conversion will have to be processed. Type of land use conversion will depend on kind of development in the surrounding areas. If there is commercial development in the surrounding areas, permission can be given for commercial use for such lands, Jagadeesha explained.
BDA to seek govt’s help

Official sources in the BDA said the Authority is planning to seek financial assistance from the State government to acquire at least a portion of land meant for parks and open spaces. The BDA would urge the government to give budgetary grants for this purpose, the sources added.

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