Debate rages over throwing open roads within gated communities

Sampath Kumar G.P.  

The recent protest by residents of Manyata Residency — located within Manyata Tech Park — by restricting entry of four-wheelers into the colony during peak hours has once again brought to the fore the debate over whether or not roads within gated communities are really private.

However, multiple town planning experts and officials argue that any area, once declared a road, is public, and that the concept of a private road, even that of gated communities, is non-existent.

S.B. Honnur, retired director of Town Planning, said Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act, 1961 does not even mention gated communities and thus they are not recognised. “There is no concept of a private road in the country. All roads are public,” he said.

The Manyata Residency RWA has argued that they are not a public layout yet. “The developer is yet to hand over the layout to Bangalore Development Authority. Contrary to common perception, our roads are still private which public can use,” RWA said in a statement.

However, this is not the first case in Bengaluru where residents have restricted entry of traffic. In the case of Brigade Millennium in 2006, gates were thrown open and vehicles allowed through the property following objections from neighbours. In 2016, two gated communities on Bannerghatta Road — M.S. Ramaiah City and Classic Orchards — followed suit.

Residents of Classic Orchards fought a legal battle in the High Court over the issue, but lost. Hearing a review petition in March 2017, the High Court directed the BDA Commissioner to pass an order after the community residents made their claims. That order is yet to be issued, said Subbu Hegde, president of the residents’ association.

As setbacks in legal fights indicate, roads within the gated communities are not really private as per law. R. Ramesh, property consultant, said even if the layout is not yet handed over to the BDA, the roads cannot be claimed as private. “Any conversion-of-land-use order also includes a clause that access to other adjoining areas has to be given through the property, which implies there are no gated communities even as per revenue laws,” he said.

Mr. Hegde, who is president of the newly formed Federation of Villa Communities of Bengaluru which has over 50 associations as members, said while they were now open to letting the public access their roads, they were fighting for traffic restrictions.

“We want heavy vehicles to be banned and strict speed restrictions within the colony. In Classic Orchards, we had placed some barricades in an attempt to restrict traffic, but they were removed,” he said.

Mahalakshmi Parthasarathy, secretary of Citizen Action Forum and a resident of Classic Orchards, said while they want civic amenities to be handed over to the civic body, they had also challenged the developer in the Consumer Court, that they were cheated when they were sold the property that it was a gated community with private roads.

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Printable version | May 6, 2021 3:35:50 PM |

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