Ministers take contradictory stands on illegal layouts

Karnataka ministers take contradictory stands on illegal layouts

Urban Development Minister BA Basavaraj and Municipalities Minister MTB Nagaraj gave opposite statements

Representative image. Credit: DH Photo

In a striking contradiction, Urban Development Minister BA Basavaraj told the Karnataka Assembly on Friday that illegal layouts will not be given basic facilities whereas Municipalities Minister MTB Nagaraj said otherwise, irking legislators.

To a question raised by MLA Amruth Desai on illegal layouts in Dharwad, Basavaraj said they will not be provided with electricity, water and other basic infrastructure. 

To another question on illegal layouts by Raghavendra Hitnal (Koppal), Nagaraj said the urban local bodies would provide water supply, solid waste management, street lighting and other services keeping the interests of citizens in mind. 

“What sort of answers are these? One department says no to basic facilities and another says yes. Are there two governments,” senior JD(S) MLA (Arkalgud) AT Ramaswamy asked. 

“The main problem is with the revenue department and their village accountants. Illegal layouts come up and both gram panchayats and the revenue department don’t regulate them,” Soraba MLA Kumar Bangarappa said. 

Speaker Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri also scoffed at this. “Don’t your officers have any responsibility,” he thundered at Nagaraj. “The fallout of illegal layouts is that a person, with all approvals, builds a ground floor. But, he isn’t able to build the first floor because that’s when your officials started asking questions. Imagine a citizen not being able to build his own house. There’s a lot of anger among people and it’ll explode one day,” Kageri said. 

Nagaraj clarified that Form-3 is withheld for illegal layouts. “The Form-3 is given to projects approved by the planning authority and properties located on gramathana land. We are not issuing Form-3 or any other licences to illegal layouts,” he said. “Illegal layouts have reduced now, but I admit there are 10-15% of them.” 

Both Nagaraj and Basavaraj said the Akrama-Sakrama scheme to regularize illegal properties was stuck in the Supreme Court. The scheme intends to regularize illegal realty projects developed before October 2013. This was stayed by the top court in July 2017. 

"We need to get the stay vacated,” Nagaraj said, assuring to talk to Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on this. “Revenues of the urban local bodies have dipped 35% as they aren’t issuing ‘A’ and ‘B’ khatas.”

Kageri asked Water Resources Minister Govind Karjol to take note of the problem. “The RDPR, Urban Development, Town Planning and Energy departments should sit together and work something out,” Karjol said. 

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