The Bowring Institute, one of Bengaluru’s premier clubs, will have to relinquish 150x100 feet space on St Mark’s Road for violating conditions imposed by the government and pay Rs 3.14 crore in dues, Revenue Minister R Ashoka said on Tuesday.
The Bowring Institute has vehemently refuted these charges.
“We had imposed some conditions while granting the land, saying it must be used only for a specific purpose. But in violation of the original agreement, a part of the land - 150x100 ft - has been sub-leased to a petrol bunk from which they have earned crores of money,” Ashoka told reporters.
“It’s clear that this piece of land is not of any use for the club. I have ordered that this land on which the petrol bunk functions be taken possession of. It will be handed over to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to be used for public purposes, such as parking or a bus stop. Also, the club has to pay Rs 3.14 crore,” Ashoka said, adding that this violation had been flagged by the Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG) also.
The Bowring Institute, which has a 12-acre property, clarified that the government had permitted sub-letting a part of its land to the IOC for a petrol bunk way back in 1969.
“To meet the fuel requirement in the Cantonment area, the IOC was scouting for a place. So, by way of a government order, a 150x100 ft of our land was granted. And as per the terms of the order, whatever the IOC realized has to be remitted to the state treasury, which is being done promptly,” Bowring Institute honorary secretary HS Srikanth told DH. “We don’t owe a single rupee to the state treasury.”
Srikanth pointed out that the issue was raised by a councillor a couple of years ago who accused the club of giving land to an individual in an unauthorized manner. “This was found to be false by a committee constituted under the Bengaluru Urban deputy commissioner,” Srikanth said.
The Bowring Institute has over 5,000 members, which includes the who’s who of Bengaluru. The main building of the club has been declared as a ‘state protected monument’ as it dates all the way back to 1888. The club’s foundations go back to 1868 when the then director of public instruction BL Rice started the Literary and Scientific Institute, which was later renamed as the Bowring Institute.