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BBMP finds violations on Jayanagar land leased out for Rs 125 a year 

The BBMP conducted the joint inspection following complaints that the society was running a private super-speciality hospital when it should be providing 'charitable services.'
Last Updated 03 March 2024, 21:14 IST

Bengaluru: A huge site in Jayanagar — leased out to the Maha Bodhi Society in 1971 for Rs 125 per annum — has come under the BBMP's scrutiny for violation of lease terms. The civic body has served a notice on the society after two of its inspectors found a breach of the land lease agreement, documents show. 

The BBMP conducted the joint inspection following complaints that the society was running a private super-speciality hospital when it should be providing "charitable services." The report has also pointed out that the society had sub-let a portion of the leased land to a third party for running a posh restaurant, which is also a violation of the lease agreement. 

The land in question — worth at least Rs 100 crore — can easily fetch a monthly rent of Rs 40 lakh. 

In its response to the notice, the society has stated that it is compliant with all terms of the lease. 

Report

The three-page inspection report covers lease-related observations made by the BBMP's assistant revenue officer. Separately, the health official has shared his remarks concerning the restaurant, which faces a busy road and the southern wall of Lalbagh. The portion — originally earmarked for a pharmacy — is being used for the restaurant. 

As per the lease agreement, the society was bound to provide medical facilities for the poor living in the area, supply food and medicine for 8,000 students, run a free dispensary, and treat 400 outpatients a day. 

"Prima facie, the lease conditions are being violated,” the revenue officer has said in the report, also noting that the name of the hospital was changed from Maha Bodhi Mallige Hospital to Truelife Maha Bodhi Hospital. It is now called Brains Super Speciality Hospital. 

The health officer has said he would take action to cancel the restaurant’s trade licence for violating the zoning rules. "The BBMP was unaware that the property belonged to it when it issued the restaurant a trade licence," the inspection report states. 

Lease for 99 years

In May 1971, the BBMP leased out 28,800 sq ft to the Maha Bodhi Society for 99 years, against an annual fee of Rs 100. Three years later, the civic body leased an additional 15,745 sq ft to the society for Rs 25. In all, a total of 44,545 sq ft (a little over an acre) has been leased out to the society for Rs 125. 

The joint inspection was conducted following a complaint that the society was violating lease conditions by sub-letting the property to run both the hospital and the restaurant. The complaint also mentioned that the hospital charges patients on a par with premium private hospitals. The restaurant meant for patients and visitors was supposed to be located inside the hospital and not facing the busy road. 

Vinoth Priya, Zonal Commissioner of the BBMP, said she had read the joint inspection report and the matter was “under investigation”. 

The Maha Bodhi Society noted that it had not violated the terms of the lease deed. 

"We have been utilising the scheduled property for the purpose for which it has been leased out in our favour. We are carrying out yeoman services. The people in and around the hospital have been utilising our services," Vajira Dorjey, general manager of the society, stated in his reply to the civic body's notice. 

The society shared a copy of its response to the notice with DH

Besides setting up a Covid care centre and conducting free camps during the pandemic, the society has met all eight conditions laid down by the BBMP, he says. 

"We have established student health services for 8,000 children of the Jayanagar area and run a neuro-psychiatric clinic, a geriatric centre, a laboratory and other diagnostic facilities. Specialists' services (are) being provided for the poor and middle class at a nominal cost as well as a free dispensary is being provided for slum dwellers of Jayanagar and Siddapura." 

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BBMP vs. Maha Bodhi Society


BBMP's Stance

Lease background: The Palike leased 28,800 sq ft at Rs 100/year in May 1971; added 15,745 sq ft for Rs 25/year in 1974. Total leased area stands at 44,545 sq ft for an annual fee of Rs 125.

Violations noted: The BBMP has accused Maha Bodhi Society of operating a private super-specialty hospital instead of charitable services, sub-letting for a posh restaurant, unauthorised hospital name change

Inspection findings: BBMP inspectors highlight a shift in the hospital's operation and sub-letting of land for a restaurant as a breach of the land lease agreement.



Maha Bodhi Society's Response

Lease compliance: The society firmly states compliance with lease terms, ensuring property use aligns with the lease's intent.

Services provided: The society says it offers medical care for the impoverished, food and medicine to 8,000 students, operates a free dispensary, and treats 400 outpatients daily.

Additional contributions: The society established a Covid care centre, hosted free pandemic camps, provided health services to 8,000 children, ran a neuro-psychiatric clinic, a geriatric centre, and offered other medical services at minimal costs.

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(Published 03 March 2024, 21:14 IST)

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