Government may review the controversial project

The Karnataka government is expected to review the controversial Bangalore-Mysore Expressway project, with particular reference to the charges made against the project by the former Prime Minister, H.D. Deve Gowda, and the directions of the Supreme Court.

Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda and Mr. Deve Gowda held a meeting on the project being executed by the Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise (NICE), on Saturday. The Memorandum of Understanding for the project was signed (in 1995) when Mr. Deve Gowda was the Chief Minister of Karnataka (1994-96) and ironically Mr. Deve Gowda has been fighting against the project over the past decade on grounds of violations of the original framework agreement (between the State government and the Project promoters) which was signed in 1997.

This is the first meeting between Mr. Deve Gowda and Mr. Sadananda Gowda on the project and the former Prime Minister had a similar meeting with B.S.Yeddyurappa when he was the Chief Minister.

Mr. Deve Gowda discussed all details pertaining to the project with particular reference to the violations and the need for the State government to file an affidavit in the Supreme Court. The project promoter has filed a contempt petition against the government, charging that the requisite land was not handed over.

Sources in the Chief Minister's Secretariat told The Hindu that the documents relating to the purported violations shown by the former Prime Minister “are baffling.”

“Action will be initiated, in due course and the Chief Minister has called for a high level meeting with the departments concerned.”

Mr. Deve Gowda told The Hindu that he had brought to the notice of the Chief Minister that the “project promoters are fabricating various government records in their favour, and by misleading the decision-makers in the government as well as the Courts on the basis of such false and fabricated records, are fraudulently exploiting the land meant for construction of toll roads.

“The land made over by the government is being used for commercial purposes and the promoters have illegally entered into Joint Development Agreements with various builders and have illegally already collected Rs. 8,000 crore, whereas as per their own admission till date they have spent Rs. 1,500 crore on the expressway project.

“At the present juncture, there is no need for an investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation. The State government should conduct an impartial enquiry and submit its report to the Supreme Court. The government should file an affidavit and highlight the irregularities committed by the NICE.”

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