Special Correspondent

`High bidding by outsiders prevent local people from buying sites'

StatementsMore than 1.19 lakh site applications are pending before the MUDA But it has not made adequate plans to develop sites for allotment

MYSORE: The spurt in real estate activity in Mysore in recent times and the skyrocketing price of land have dashed the hopes of the local people of buying housing sites and raised questions about the Government's ability to free the real-estate business from the control of the land mafia.

The Association of Concerned and Informed Citizens of Mysore (ACICM) has criticised the Government and the Mysore Urban Development Authority (MUDA) for their alleged failure to take steps against the land mafia. It said sites auctioned by the MUDA were being purchased by people from Bangalore and other cities, and their high bids robbed the local people of a chance to buy sites.

ACICM convenor M. Lakshman said here on Sunday that more than 5,000 acres of land had been purchased by people from Andhra Pradesh and cities including Bangalore, Mumbai and Chennai. It was pointed out that a site measuring 40 ft by 60 ft in a good locality in Mysore costs not less than Rs. 30 lakh compared with Rs. 8 lakh about three years ago. "Private developers develop land and sell sites at high rates making it impossible for people in Mysore to buy a site and build a house in their own city," Mr. Lakshman said.

The ACICM accused the Government of failure to curb the land mafia. It criticised MUDA for its inability to allot sites to people here, many of whom have been waiting for allotment more than 15 years after submitting their applications. "There are more than 1.19 lakh site applications pending before the MUDA, but it has sent a proposal to acquire land where only 1,500 sites can by created. It has about 4,200 sites ready for distribution, but this is not adequate to clear the backlog. It is not known why MUDA invites fresh applications and collects Rs. 500 as registration fee and Rs. 20,000 as deposit," the ACICM said.

The Government is facing criticism for allegedly promoting land developers. The ACICM, which appealed to the public to join hands to with it in a "fight for the rights", demanded that the Government initiate action on the report submitted by T.M. Vijaybhaskar.