With Chief Minister Siddaramaiah announcing that the state government will abandon its plans to develop the Shivaram Karanth Layout, the Bangalore Development Authority’s (BDA) ability to acquire lands to form layouts has come into question.
Infrastructure experts suggest that the government should revisit its acquisition process before announcing new housing layouts as BDA’s efforts to form new layouts have proved futile in the past 10 years.
In 2007, the state government had announced five mega layouts: Nada Prabhu Kempegowda Layout, Shivaram Karanth Layout, K C Reddy Layout, S Nijalingappa Layout and D Devaraj Urs Layout. Though the government had proposed to acquire 15,500 acres land for these layouts, till date, it has managed to acquire just 1,400 acres.
The fate of K C Reddy Layout, S Nijalingappa Layout and D Devaraj Urs Layout is in limbo as no land has been acquired. The Karnataka Udyoga Mitra, which was in possession of land, handed over part of it to industries.
The BDA’s ‘efficiency’ can be gauged from the fact that not a single residential layout has been formed since 2002 and it is struggling to hand over sites to the allottees of Arkavathy Layout, which was announced in 2003.
BDA commissioner T Sham Bhatt said, “We came to know that the Chief Minister has announced that the government will drop plans of developing Shivaram Karanth Layout. However, we have not got any instruction from the government. We have acquired over 1,400 acres of land for Nada Prabhu Kempegowda Layout and there are some patches of land that have not been acquired due to litigation. We are confident of developing Kempegowda Layout. As we have not notified land for the other three layouts, we need not worry about them.”
Housing and Infrastructure analyst Prashanth Sambargi said, “It is high time the government revisits its land acquisition policy and Land Acquisition Act. The government should at least come out with a white paper on its land acquisition policies. Normally, the government notifies 50 per cent more land than what is required and ‘influential’ people succeed in getting their land denotified due to that. It causes heartburn among other land owners who move courts. This has affected the land acquisition process and BDA’s efforts to form residential layouts. Moreover, the government should ensure that BDA abides by the Country and Town Planning Act while forming layouts.”
Infrastructure expert Ashwin Mahesh said forming the Shivaram Karanth Layout was a good idea, but BDA acquiring land for the layout was bad. Earlier, the BDA used to forcibly acquire land as there used to be very less opposition. Now, the situation has changed. “Instead of acquiring land, BDA should focus on zoning and promoting vertical development instead of horizontal development, and allow builders to buy land directly from land owners. The BDA should demarcate separate zones for low-income groups and middle-income groups. It should focus on providing better infrastructure.”
Infrastructure expert M N Sreehari said BDA should understand that its efforts to acquire land have failed because there is no proper coordination between stakeholders. Due to its inability to form even a single layout in the past 10 years, there is talk about scrapping the BDA itself.