The city is a hub of premier defence research organisations, including Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Electronics and Radar Development Establishment (LRDE) and Defence Avionics Research Establishment (DARE). These establishments are secure campuses, given the nature of research that is taken up there.
However, with the city’s limits increasing and the huge pressure on land, the buffer zone around these high-security institutions is being perceived to be compromised. The DRDO recently filed a public interest litigation petition accusing the State government and the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike, saying that despite its repeated objections, the BBMP had approved a multi-storey apartment complex promoted by M/s. Puravankara Projects right next to its Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (CAIR) in C.V. Raman Nagar.
Though the defence establishment later withdrew the PIL on technical grounds, the BBMP officials in the Town Planning Department contend that “there are no secure or sensitive areas in the city”. Officials told The Hindu on condition of anonymity that the BBMP sanctioned plans as per the Bangalore Development Authority’s zoning regulations specified in its Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP).
The building plans are approved based on the CDP, the road width and site dimension. High rise constructions with built-up area of more than 20,000 sq m have to first obtain a no objection certificate from the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board, Airports Authority of India, Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board and the Department of Fire and Emergency Services.
Reiterating that there is no demarcation of any “sensitive area” in the CDP, the official said that there is neither any rule, bylaw or government order directing the BBMP to not approve projects in areas with defence establishments.
M/s. Puravankara Projects had first got the plan sanction for the construction of an apartment complex (Purva Season) with eight blocks in June 2007. The developer submitted a revised plan to include a clubhouse, which was approved by the BBMP in November 2011. The construction of the luxury apartment complex is still in the preliminary stage. A representative from the developer told The Hindu Puravankara had followed all the legal procedures and got the requisite sanctions and approvals from the planning agencies.
When contacted, the DRDO spokesperson said the defence organisation would once again seek legal recourse and would file a writ petition against the project in the High Court of Karnataka soon. “This is a public issue. We will be able to reveal more details only after filing the writ petition,” the spokesperson said.