Erstwhile Mysuru royal family set to question valuation of palace property in Bengaluru by BDA

Bengaluru Development Authority (BDA) fixed a rate of ₹120.68 per square metre to acquire part of the land for widening the road

Updated - July 10, 2024 07:51 am IST

Published - July 09, 2024 12:58 pm IST - Bengaluru

Compound wall of palace ground on Jayamahal Road in Bengaluru. 472 acres of palace ground in the heart of Bengaluru has been valued at at a mere ₹11 crore by the BDA for calculating Transferable Development Rights (TDR). 

Compound wall of palace ground on Jayamahal Road in Bengaluru. 472 acres of palace ground in the heart of Bengaluru has been valued at at a mere ₹11 crore by the BDA for calculating Transferable Development Rights (TDR).  | Photo Credit: BHAGYA PRAKASH K

A recent valuation of the sprawling 472 acres of palace ground in the heart of Bengaluru at a mere ₹11 crore by the Bengaluru Development Authority (BDA) for calculating Transferable Development Rights (TDR) raised several eyebrows. BDA fixed a rate of ₹120.68 per square metre to acquire part of the land for widening the road.

The current market value of the land is estimated to be around ₹100 crore per acre.

The civic authority justified its decision to fix the compensation based on the Bangalore Palace (Acquisition and Transfer) Act, 1996, that pegs the total value of the entire palace ground at ₹11 crore.

As per SC order

The TDR was issued as per the 2014 Supreme Court order for acquiring 15 acres and 17.5 guntas, or 62,475 square metres, of palace land for widening Ballari Road and Jayamahal Road, and ahead of the contempt petition coming before the Supreme Court on July 12. As per the provisions of the Act, value of the land being acquired is pegged at ₹60 lakh, and 1.5 times the sum would come to around ₹1 crore.

The guidance value of the Stamps and Registration Department, revised in 2023-24, pegs the value of a square metre on Jayamahal Main Road at ₹2.04 lakh while the rate per square metre on Ballari Road is ₹2.85 lakh.

Considering an average guidance value of about ₹2.30 lakh per square metre, the value of the land to be acquired would be over ₹1,400 crore. The market value would be much more than that.

Under the TDR, the compensation is to be 1.5 times the market value or the guidance value, whichever is higher. This will work out to more than ₹2,100 crore, said a Bengaluru-based expert on TDR.

In June 2023, when the BBMP issued a notification for acquisition of a portion of palace land for widening of Jayamahal Road from Mehkri Circle to Cantonment Railway Station, it had mentioned the ‘market value of the land’ and had not invoked the value of land as per the Act, as has been done now.

“The notional land can be utilised by factoring with the market value at the originating plot and receiving plot. The notional land is available for FAR and can be used as additional built-up area at the receiving plot, as per the terms and condition prescribed by the Benefit of Development Right Rules 2016,” the civic body had stated.

A senior member of the erstwhile Mysuru royal family, which has been fighting against the acquisition of palaces in Bengaluru and Mysuru, said, “The notice issued to us does not even say how the TDR was calculated. Twice, they wanted us to take the Development Rights Certificates (DRCs), which we have not accepted. The rate fixed is a pittance. The contempt proceedings are on in the Supreme Court. We will approach the court against the TDR issued by the BDA.”

Why government is in a hurry

Palace sources claimed that the government of Karnataka is “keen to escape contempt proceedings in the Supreme Court, and hence issued the DRCs in a hurry”. Three contempt petitions were filed — in 2021, 2022 and 2023 — in the Supreme Court.

“The court wanted to know from the government whether it required land for widening or would want to face contempt. The State Cabinet decided to take up widening to escape contempt,” sources said.

The notice from the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) Commissioner acknowledged that, as per the March 2024 order of Supreme Court, the BDA is required to hand over the DRCs after completing all the steps as per TDR rules.

A member of the erstwhile royal family claimed that they would not get anything for the property as the per the acquisition Act. “There is no mention of the royal family in the list of claimants as per Chapter 5 of the Act.” He claimed that the family is being “singled out for discrimination”.

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