Civic authority yet to sanction plan for Sampige Road station tower

The impasse over the construction of Sampige Road Metro Station and commercial tower under the first ever pubic-private partnership of Namma Metro continues with the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) refusing to sanction the building plan for the station tower.

BBMP is sticking to its guns that the private partner, Mantri Developers, has encroached into over two acres of government land and handed it over to the BBMP for construction of a road by obtaining transferable development rights (TDR).

A high power committee of the government on March 7 directed the BBMP to approve it. The High Court, on April 15, passed a similar order.

BBMP files appeal

However, the then BBMP Commissioner Siddaiah wrote to the government in May urging it to withdraw the direction as a joint committee of the BBMP had established the encroachment even as the palike filed an appeal against the court order.

The BBMP constituted the committee of deputy commissioners of health, estate and land acquisition to examine the allegations of people’s representatives that Hamara Shelters, a concern owned by Mantri, had encroached into two acres and eleven and a half guntas of government land.

On the other hand, Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (BMRCL) and Mantri Infrastructure Pvt., Ltd. are pushing to get the plan sanctioned for joint development of the property. While the Principal Secretary, Urban Development Department, had directed BBMP to sanction the plan in eight days on November 27, 2012, a high power committee on March 7, 2013 issued similar directions after BBMP failed to grant the approval.

Partially complete

BMRCL managing director N. Sivasailam, in an emailed reply to The Hindu, said the station buildings were partially complete. Other elements like parking space, station access and so on were not as they are integrated with the facility of the joint development partner (commercial tower), which has to be approved by the BBMP.

He said: “At this stage, we expect BBMP to comply with the court order, which is based on the decision of the State government directing the BBMP to accord approval to the plan. Of course, in this impasse, the work is suffering as the joint development partner is unable to move ahead both in physical and financial terms as further release of funds is conditional to formal plan approval by the regulator.”

Awaiting response

BBMP Commissioner M. Lakshminarayana told The Hindu that his predecessor, Siddaiah, had written to the government to withdraw the directions (to grant approval for the joint development). “We are awaiting government response to that letter and as of now no approval has been issued.”

Asked if BBMP whether the palike would grant approval if the government directs so, Mr. Lakshmin arayana said it would have to examine such directions.

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