Oppn forces govt to reconsider Bill to reduce open spaces

Oppn forces govt to reconsider Bill to reduce open spaces
A combined Opposition succeeded in forcing the government to reconsider the controversial Bill aimed at reducing lung space in layouts formed by the urban development department outside Bengaluru.

In the Assembly on Monday, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister T B Jayachandra agreed for a re-look into the Karnataka Urban Development Authorities (Amendment) Bill, 2016.

He had moved the Bill in the absence of Urban Development Minister R Roshan Baig.

The Bill came up for consideration before the Assembly for the second time. Earlier, the governor had returned the Bill asking the legislature to reconsider it as it intends to reduce the area reserved for public parks, playgrounds and civic amenities.

The governor had observed that such reduction would affect the basic rights of the citizens and may also add to air pollution and traffic congestion etc., while adding that the Bill is not in the interest of the society at large.

Many civic organisations, too, have opposed the Bill. The BJP had also petitioned to the governor not to give his assent.

The Bill has made provisions to reduce the spaces reserved for parks and playgrounds from 15% to 10%  and civic amenity sites from 10% to 5% in layouts to be formed in future in small towns and cities other than Bengaluru.

Lung space mandatory

When the bill was placed for consideration of the House, Jayachandra said that for private layouts, it is mandatory to earmark 15% as lung space - 10% for parks/playgrounds and 5% for CA sites. However, in layouts formed by the urban development, it is 25%. The government’s intention is to bring parity between both private and government layouts.

 “We have not been able to sell our sites because it is costlier than private. Even investors are not ready to join hands with the department in formation of layouts in the 60:40 ratio. Hence the amendment,” Jayachandra said.

The BJP and the JD(S) could not see any logic in his argument. BJP leaders Jagadish Shettar and Suresh Kumar, JD(S) members Sa Ra Mahesh and G T Deve Gowda among others said that it is better to make developers of private layouts to set aside 25% as open space, rather than the government compromising to 15%.

Shettar said the government must understand the public sentiment and also the observations made by the governor. The government should not think in terms of profit and loss when it comes to such issues. The government must withdraw the bill, he insisted.

Another provision in the bill - to reduce legislators on the local planning bodies - was vehemently opposed by the Opposition as well as a Congress member.

The government while reducing representation to legislators, intends to increase officers. The legislators argued that this would amount to curtailing their rights in planning of layouts.

Jayachandra put an end to the discussion by saying the bill would be reconsidered.
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