Town Planning officials also in the dock over encroachment
Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Commissioner Siddaiah’s name figures prominently in two first information reports (FIRs) registered by the Bangalore Metropolitan Task Force (BMTF) on Saturday.
Incidentally, Saturday was the last day of the BMTF’s term; the task force will exist for another three months in anticipation of the government order renewing its term.
The first FIR accuses the Commissioner and the BBMP Joint Director (Town Planning) of allowing a developer to encroach upon a ‘nala’ (natural drain), a ‘raja kaluve’ (a major storm-water drain) and ‘bandi jadu’ (bullock cart track).
The FIR was registered based on a complaint by A.V. Srinivas Murthy, who alleged that the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) had acquired land in Nagashettihalli for the formation of RMV Extension Layout. However, the BDA gave away the acquired land to NTI Housing Society. The society, instead of forming sites, reportedly sold over 10 acres to the developer.
In the second FIR, Mr. Siddaiah and BDA’s Town Planning member S.S. Topagi have been accused of allowing encroachment of government land by another major builder.
According to a complaint filed by S. Ramesh, Mr. Siddaiah (when he was BDA Commissioner) allowed the builder to construct a commercial and residential complex on 42 acres of land, including 3 acres and 8 guntas of B Kharab land, which was an encroachment.
Based on a complaint by M. Gopi, Sampangiramanagar councillor, the BMTF has also filed an FIR against BBMP officials. In his complaint, Mr. Gopi alleged that the officials were trying to create khatas and sell BBMP land in his ward. This land, in survey numbers 1/1, 1/2, 1/3 and 1/4, was worth more than Rs. 40 crore.
BMTF officials said they would be able to verify the genuineness of the allegations only after a thorough investigation.
They also brushed off questions about the BMTF’s term. “The term is renewed every two years. Each time, the renewal order has come a few months late. This year, we sent requests to renew the term of BMTF in January itself,” said an official.
Stating categorically that the BMTF was not being “wound up” by the government, the official claimed that the task force had received funds from the government. “The apprehensions about BMTF’s term are unfounded.”