Deve Gowda revives his crusade against NICE project

Deve Gowda revives his crusade against NICE project

JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda seems to have revived his campaign against the irregularities in the Bangalore Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) expressway project, by the Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise (NICE).

Gowda, who visited two localities adjoining the expressway on Friday, has said that he would urge the coalition government to implement the recommendations made by the joint House Committee headed by former minister T B Jayachandra, which had looked into the irregularities in the expressway project.

JD(S) legislators would raise the issue during the Belagavi Winter Session, demanding a CBI probe into the irregularities, Gowda added.

The committee report has been kept in cold storage ever since its submission. The Siddaramaiah-led Congress government had also come under fire for inducting NICE managing director Ashok Kheny into the party, though he had been indicted in the report.

The committee had recommended a probe by either the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or the Enforcement Directorate (ED), in addition to advising the government to drop about 1,160 acres of both private and government lands acquired for the project. The government is, however, yet to act on the recommendations.

Gowda, who had been involved in a political and legal battle against the NICE project for nearly 13 years, had however distanced himself from his crusade in 2016.

But with his son H D Kumaraswamy at the helm of state affairs, Gowda met the residents of Pramoda Layout and Hosakerehalli, who put forth the problems that have been facing because of the road project.

The residents said that the entrance to their layout had been barricaded by NICE, restricting free movement. They also said that NICE had disallowed them from laying water and sanitary pipelines, as it would have to cut through the expressway.

Gowda said that the residents had been bearing the brunt for long and that there was a need for their problems to be resolved at the earliest.

He said that successive governments had failed to address the NICE irregularities, delaying action. All that would soon change, he added.