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Updated: April 23, 2013 11:02 IST

Development at the cost of farmers

B. S. Satish Kumar
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The Hindu

Byatarayanapura Assembly constituency that was carved out from Yelahanka ahead of the previous Assembly elections has become a hot destination for real estate developers. Its proximity to the international airport and the six-lane highway that passes through this constituency providing smooth connectivity to the central parts of the city have put real estate development on a fast track here.

But this has unleashed its ugly impact as real estate developers are emerging stronger and land sharks are spreading their tentacles. In fact, parts of this constituency have found a mention in the report of the A.T. Ramaswamy Committee that looked into land grabbing in and around Bangalore.

At the time of its formation, none of the seven wards of this constituency could match the other city areas in terms of development as the municipal bodies that governed them then suffered from paucity of funds to take up development works on a large scale.

However, the face of this constituency has now changed as the government pumped in funds for development of the areas which were newly included in the BBMP. This has increased the importance of the constituency as a large number of international schools, medical and engineering colleges, high-profile educational institutions and super-specialty hospitals have come up. Of course, what has added real value to the area is the 1,200-acre green campus of the University of Agricultural Sciences that has turned out to be the biggest lung space of Bangalore.

But despite this, the development of infrastructure in the constituency is not uniform as there are some extremely well planned layouts as well as revenue pockets which are completely haphazard.

Byatarayanapura has also thrown up an important issue in the face of development: the plight of victims of development as farmers who gave their land for developing the Arkavathi Layout to the BDA are now leading a pathetic life with women from several such families working as maids to earn a livelihood.

In a constituency that is marked by heart-wrenching contrasts, Congress MLA Krishna Byre Gowda is seeking re-election against A. Ravi of the Bharatiya Janata Party and Hanumanthe Gowda of the Janata Dal(S).

“I am banking on the development works taken up by me as MLA, my personal contacts with the people and more than anything else, my clean image,” says Mr. Krishna Byre Gowda who managed to win this seat amid a pro-BJP wave during the previous elections.

A close relative of Deputy Chief Minister R. Ashok, Mr. Ravi is trying his luck for the second time after losing to Mr. Krishna Byre Gowda in the previous elections. He is banking on the achievement of the BJP government. In terms of image and personality, Mr. Krishna Byre Gowda stands out from the rest of the contestants. However, it remains to be seen if he manages to retain the seat.

Whoever wins, it is an irony that the plight of farmers is fading as an issue from election to election.

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