Encroachers may have last laugh as applicants wait for sites

Encroachers may have last laugh as applicants wait for sites

For B R Suresh, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s announcement to regularise the encroachment of Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) land may have come as a ray of hope.

In the last 30 years, this furniture dealer from Hanumanthanagar has made seven attempts in vain to get a BDA site through genuine means. Although, many BDA layouts are mired in controversies and litigation, Suresh aspires for a genuine site in a City, known for deception in the name of land deal, and reposes faith in the BDA.

After the chief minister’s benevolent gesture towards BDA land encroachers ahead of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike polls, Suresh says instead of applying for a BDA site, it is better to encroach upon a BDA site and wait for government’s mercy.

“Luck is evading me since 1985 and I continue to live as tenant paying a rent of Rs 5,000 per month for a single bedroom house. After Siddaramaiah's announcement, I got a feeling that what I did all these years for a genuine site was wrong. Instead of applying for sites, I should have opted for some illegal means,” said an upset Suresh.

M Somanath’s case is no different. Somanath too made seven attempts in vain to get a BDA site. There are lakhs of Bengalureans who have been applying for a site in BDA, but their luck did not favour them.

According to B M Shivakumar of Jayaprakash Narayan Vichara Vedike, nearly 2.8 lakh people had applied for the proposed 20,000 sites in Arkavathi Layout. Later, the de-notification of land reduced the number of sites from 20,000 to 8,000. 

“On the other hand, nearly 66,500 houses have illegally come up on the sites meant for residential and commercial purposes. This is apart from the encroachment of parks, playgrounds and the Civic Amenity (CA) sites, most of which are in the control of the high and mighty,” said Shivakumar.

Most of the BDA lands under encroachment are the ones allotted to the House Building Societies to form layouts.

No records

The sudden announcement by the chief minister has baffled the BDA staffers, as the Authority has not yet identified the names of the encroachers and the extent of encroachment.

Following the announcement, the BDA officials are worried that there could be a spurt in the encroachment of BDA land to get it regularised. The BDA has been surveying its properties, but it has decided to intensify its drive. A meeting took place in the BDA to intensify the exercise to identify encroachment of its land.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, a senior BDA official expressed doubts on whether the BDA ever had 3,600 acres of its land encroached.

“What chief minister seems to have spoken about must be the overall encroachment in Bengaluru. His comment could also be related to the land identified during the preliminary notification and not the final notification,” the officer said.

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