BENGALURU: With farmers whose lands had been notified for acquisition for the Peripheral Ring Road (PRR) Project refusing to accept the land that was planned to be handed over to them as compensation, the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) has now written to the State government requesting a different stretch of land.
In a letter written recently to the Principal Secretary, Revenue Department, the BDA has asked it to hand over the government land located up to 1 km distance on either side of the proposed 65-km road to develop them for the farmers. It has also requested 216 acres of government land on an immediate basis to commence the project.
The eight-lane PRR project had been proposed in 2007. Due to litigation and huge costs of land acquisition, it had remained in limbo for over a decade. The cost has now shot up to 11,950 crore from the originally estimated cost of Rs 5,800 crore, largely due to the huge compensation to be paid for land owners following the new Land Acquisition Act introduced in 2013. A total of 1,810 acres is required for the project and the compensation cost to be given to nearly 5,000 farmers runs to nearly Rs 8,100 crore.
Speaking to Express, a top official said, “The project was supposed to run into 100 metres width, with the road occupying only 75 metres. We had planned to hand over the 25 metres to the farmers as compensation for the land acquired.
However, they are stubborn that they would not accept this compensation despite a series of meetings held with them by the government.”Following a recent meeting with farmers, Bengaluru Development and Town Planning Minister K J George instructed BDA to explore other land that could be offered to the farmers. “Hence, we have written to the Revenue department asking for 1 km land on either side of the planned road,” he added.
There will be no problem in acquiring the 216 acres of land as it is all State government’s land only, another official said. A total of 1,584 acres has been notified for acquisition from the farmers but only three of the farmers have been paid compensation for their land. “Farmers owning smaller plots of land are willing to accept cash but those who own huge plots are keen on land in exchange,” another official said.
In a related development, the Special Purpose Vehicle set up to implement the project, the ‘Bengaluru Peripheral Ring Road Development Corporation Limited’ held its first meeting at the BDA office last week, BDA Commissioner Rakesh Singh told Express.
“We discussed the way ahead for the project,” he said.Meanwhile, BDA officials have their fingers crossed that the project would come under the Centre’s major road infrastructure project for the country, the Bharatmala scheme.“If it is brought under the scheme, the Centre will fund the entire cost of the project. We have received strong oral assurances of the same, but we are yet to receive any written communication as a confirmation of it,” a top State government official said.