Special Correspondent

BANGALORE: Bharatiya Janata Party leader and former MLC B.J. Puttaswamy on Friday alleged that Janata Dal (S) president H.D. Deve Gowda’s family had land in the Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) project area.

Addressing presspersons here, Mr. Puttaswamy alleged that Mr. Gowda’s family had violated the land grant norms to get 13 acres of “gomal” land from the government between Kengeri and Bidadi about 20 years ago.

He further alleged that Mr. Gowda’s family had also purchased land from small landholders, some of them from the Dalit community, in the project area.

He maintained that some of this land, which was originally given by the government to landless people, was under a 15-year moratorium during which the beneficiaries could not sell it.

He demanded that Mr. Gowda prove his concern towards farmers by handing over the “gomal” land to the government so that it could be distributed among land-less people.

Mr. Puttaswamy also urged Mr. Gowda to provide the present-day market rate for the farmland purchased from small landholders several years ago.

Referring to the hue and cry over acquisition of farmland for projects, Mr. Puttaswamy maintained that it was not possible to bring about development without acquiring land.

However, suitable compensation should be provided to farmers, he said and demanded that Mr. Gowda work for securing better compensation for farmers by holding talks with the Chief Minister instead of holding dharnas.

The former MLC condemned the alleged unparliamentary remarks by Mr. Gowda against Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa.

Charge denied

Janata Dal (S) spokesman Y.S.V. Datta, MLC, denied allegations of violation of land grant rules.

He told The Hindu that inquiries conducted into such allegations since the 1980s had given a clean chit to Mr. Gowda and his family.

Besides, land had not been purchased from small landholders before the completion of 15-year moratorium. Mr. Datta said, above all, none of the above land was in the jurisdiction of the BMIC project.