The State Government has said that vast tracts of land are not available in and around Bangalore for relocating the Bangalore Turf Club (BTC).

The State says apart from land parcels between 30 and 90 acres at Sonnehalli in Bangalore South, there are no other lands currently available with it for grant to the BTC. Even this land, it says, cannot outrightly be granted to the BTC. It is for the BTC to make an application which can be favourably considered, it said.

The State has made these submissions in its statement of objections (SO) filed before the Supreme Court a few days ago. The State response is to a Special Leave petition (SLP) by the BTC questioning the Karnataka High Court order directing it to vacate the Race Course Road premises.

The High Court had also said that the land once vacated by the BTC would revert back to the State Government. It had also asked the BTC to pay enhanced monthly rent to the State till it vacates the place.

In its objections, the State said the lease on the Race Course land has expired and that the BTC would have to shift. It said it had initially earmarked 150 acres at Chikjala/Doddajala for the BTC. It said the BTC itself had represented several times to the Public Works Department (PWD) on August 4, 2009 that no sooner than the premises at Chikjala would become operational, they would shift from the Race Course Road premises.

The State said BTC is insisting that it be given lands near Bangalore City. This, the State, is not possible as there are absolutely no Government lands. Moreover, it says it is under no obligation to give alternate land to the BTC.

However, since the matter had come up in court, the State said it identified some lands, including survey No. 79 at Sonehalli. However, the BTC has been reluctant to shift to this area and is insisting on lands near the city.

It said the BTC itself could identify lands and that it could make efforts to ensure that they are granted to the club.

The State blames the BTC itself for the current imbroglio. It says the BTC has failed to take steps for shifting the race course to another place and moreover it has waited till the last moment (when the lease period was to expire) before filing a writ petition in court.

On allegations that the shifting would affect several families, the State says several families have lost their source of livelihood and have become destitute after being involved in racing. Besides, the present location has led to traffic snarls.

More In: Bangalore