A precious 117 acres of government land was granted against rules to nearly two dozen beneficiaries, including the Congress party, the Comptroller and Auditor-General (CAG) has found.
Although the Karnataka Land Grant Rules, 1969, does not allow grant of land to political parties, the Congress was given 60 guntas to construct its office in Channapatna in October 2015. In a similar instance, 15 acres was given to the Karnataka Government Secretariat Group-D Employees Association in the Bengaluru (North) additional taluk for residential purpose. This, despite the rules not allowing grant of land to an association for residential purpose.
The findings are part of a CAG report titled ‘Grant, Lease, Eviction of Encroachment and Regularisation of Unauthorised Occupation of Government Land’ that was tabled in the Legislative Assembly on Monday. The report looked into a random sample of 30 taluks from 11 districts where cases belonged to the period between 2012-13 and 2016-17.
The auditor found deficiencies in inventory management (database of lands available), procedure in disposal of applications seeking grant of land, monitoring of land usage and eviction of encroachment.
In 10 cases, 390.38 acres of land was granted despite “incorrect or incomplete verification” of the status of these lands. For instance, 7 acres was granted to the Bengaluru Institute of Higher Education and Research in Bengaluru East in January 2014 and 2 acres to Dr Vishnuvardhan Smaraka in Bengaluru (South) taluk. According to CAG, 4.48 lakh acres of land remained under encroachment in Karnataka as on March 2017. In 43 cases where encroachments were to be cleared, 22 cases involving 219 acres continued encroached, the audit found.
Moreover, the CAG noticed that 89 acres of encroached land in Bengaluru (Urban), Ballari, Mysuru and Ramanagara districts was granted by the government to the encroachers themselves. The encroachers used the land to build a resort, golf village, school and church.
Surprisingly, the CAG pointed out that the revenue department allowed “ineligible” concession in land price worth Rs 176.01 crore in 51 cases. The beneficiaries include Matha Amritanandamayi Math, Srinivasa Educational and Charitable Trust, Sri Janaseva Vishwastha Mandali (all Bengaluru). In five cases, the revenue department doled out a concession worth Rs 19.61 crore “without application by the beneficiary or recording any reason for the same”.