New panel formed to probe 'G' category site allotment

New panel formed to probe 'G' category site allotment

New panel formed to probe  'G' category site allotment

After rejecting the Justice Padmaraj Committee report on the irregularities in the allotment of 640 ‘G’category sites by the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) between 2006 and 2008, the State government has now constituted another three-member committee to probe into the matter, in accordance with a High Court order. 

But surprisingly, the Urban Development Department (UDD) has appointed retired IAS officer M K Shankaralinge Gowda, who was the BDA Commissioner during 2006-08, as a member of the committee. 

As per the government order, a copy of which is with Deccan Herald, the government had rejected the Padmaraj Committee report stating, as it is “not in consonance with directions issued by the High Court in the judgement dated August 25, 2012.” 

Thus on February 2, 2015, following High Court orders of November 7, 2014, the government constituted another committee to probe into the allotments. The members of the panel are: Justices A M Faook and A V Srinivas (both retired judges of the High Court) and retired Principal Secretary, M K Shankarlinge Gowda.Additional Chief Secretary to Urban Development Department D Satya Murthy told Deccan Herald that the idea behind appointing Gowda as a panel member was that they needed somebody who had worked in the department and knows the subject well. 

‘Not a major issue’

“This is not a major issue. We had suggested some names and the panel comprising government officials picked up one name that was of Gowda. It is now upto the State government and the court to accept or reject it. No work has started so far as this is a newly appointed committee. Search is on for a suitable place to set up the office where the members can hear the petitions,” he said. 

Many bureaucrats have been opposing Gowda's name. A senior official, on condition of anonymity, said that the Justice Padmaraj Committee report was rejected and Gowda was appointed to the new panel as the government wanted to protect the interests of a select few. 
A BDA official said that ideally the ‘G’ category sites are allotted to those who have made exemplary contributions to society. ‘F’ category sites are given to sportsmen, but the government usually mixes them, he added. Further, the allotment of sites under these categories is made at the discretion of the government, especially the chief minister. The BDA commissioner is only a signatory, the official said. 

Between 2006 and 2008, sites measuring 60x40 square feet and even 80x120 square feet in prime locations such as Koramanagala, HSR Layout, RMV Extension, Indiranagar and Dollors Colony were allotted to housewives, waiters, gardeners, MLAs, MPs, their relatives and political party workers. Taking note of this, a PIL was filed in the High Court. As per the BDA Act, 1976, as many as 1,920 people were to get ‘G’ category sites, but based on government preferences, sites were allotted to only only 640 persons.

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