Bengaluru: Huge plots of land allotted to 115 politicians, in violation of BDA’s allotment rule 10(3), could fulfil the dreams of at least 230 citizens, frustrated by a long wait for a BDA site. The rule prohibits granting of sites to any person who owns a site, or whose dependent family member owns one.
In fact, thousands of citizens are still awaiting their turn to land a site in one of BDA’s layouts, while politicians have been gifted sites together measuring over 4lakh sqft.
Yet, all is not lost. BDA rules have the provision to reclaim such sites as per rule 13(9), which has been exercised by several commissioners in the past. “If found that the sites were granted in violation of law, action will be initiated as per the provisions of the law by the government or BDA,” BDA chairman Mahendra Jain told TOI.
According to rule 13(9), the BDA can reclaim the land – to do which there is no time limit – if the applicant has falsely declared that she/he has no other site in order to obtain a BDA site. In a specific case, the BDA commissioner had in 1997 reclaimed a site belonging to a person named TS Vedavalli, a PSU employee. It has also reclaimed other sites similarly.
But the Vedavalli case is important because even the Karnataka high court upheld BDA’s action and dismissed her petition, observing that the commissioner had the right to reclaim the land. “BDA can exercise its power if allotment is obtained by fraud or concealment of fact under Rule 13(9) of the Allotment of Sites Rules and to resume the possession of the site.”
“Rule 13 (9) of the Bangalore Development Authority Rules provide that if the particulars furnished by the applicant in the prescribed application form for allotment of site are found to be incorrect or false, the sital value deposited shall be forfeited and the site shall be resumed by the authority,” the court observed.
Former Lokayukta Santosh Hegde said: “The minute you know they already own a site, the allotment is void. The BDA must reclaim the land. There is no doubt about that in the law.”
“…The objective of the BDA is to provide residential plots to people who have no other alternative land and not to keep granting land to the rich and powerful. Action must be immediately initiated to take the land back, which is the first step, then we can discuss how it can benefit common citizens,” Hegde added.
FROM NETAS TO AAM AADMI
The total extent of land used to form the 115 sites given to politicians, including 57 MLAs, is more than 4lakh sqft.
Given that the sites measure not less than 40x60sqft, and a majority measure 50x80sqft, each of them can be converted into at least two sites, which are still larger than the common 30x40sqft dimension the BDA offers most citizens. This can provide sites for at least 230 people on the BDA waitlist.
However, if all sites formed measure 30x40sqft, at least 333 people will benefit. If 20x30sqft sites are formed, BDA can cater to 666 people.