Order was passed during BDA board’s last meeting on the basis of SC order

The Bangalore Development Authority has finally complied with the May 5, 2010 order of the Supreme Court directing it to leave out 285 acres of land from the acquisition process for the formation of the Arkavathy Layout.

The denotification order was passed at the BDA board’s meeting earlier this month, BDA Commissioner T. Sham Bhat confirmed to journalists after sources in the BDA alerted them to this major decision which was kept under wraps.

The Supreme Court had ordered the denotification of the land after it found that it had been erroneously notified by including horticultural land, developed residential areas, factories as well as educational and charitable institutions.

While the owners of these denotified properties heaved a sigh of relief, the 8,800 people who have been shortlisted for allotment of plots in the Arkavathy Layout are a worried lot. “We have not yet been given our plots after all these years. Now, we are afraid that the latest denotification will further reduce the land available for site formation,” said one of the people who have been shortlisted for allotment.

The project has been at the centre of controversy ever since the BDA notified 4,000 acres for the Arkavathy Layout and announced in March 2004 that 20,000 Bangaloreans will get affordable plots. Today, over eight years later only 2,183 of the 4,000 acres are available for the formation of the layout thanks to a series of illegal denotifications which even led to the arrest of the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa and his relatives.

With the 285 acres denotified , the 8,000 plot aspirants will be left to scrape by with just 1,898 acres of land. In addition to those who have been shortlisted, the BDA also needs to give plots to nearly 6,000 farmers who gave up their land for the project.

Concerns have also been raised over the fact that the 285 acres is not one contiguous piece and is scattered across the area that remains with the BDA for the formation of the layout. “It will be extremely tough for us to build roads, pipelines and other civic amenities as we would be forced to trespass what is now private land,” said one BDA official.

However, K.N. Chakrapani, one of the leaders who fought on behalf of the people whose lands were erroneously notified said, “While the BDA’s action is welcome, it has been delayed by nearly three years. It amounts to a serious contempt of court. The agency has always fast-tracked illegal denotifications to benefit politicians and powerful people. But when it comes to poor landowners, BDA officials defied even a Supreme Court order,” he said.

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