Today's Paper

When the KIADB was being too NICE for comfort

Krishnaprasad

The board has acquired excess land of nearly 7,000 acres for the project



The KIADB notified 21,000 acres of private land as against the sanctioned 13,237 acres

It also notified 5,688 acres of Government land as against the sanctioned area of 6,956 acres



Bangalore: Eleven years after the Frame Work Agreement (FWA) between the Karnataka Government and the Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises (NICE), for implementing the Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor Project (BMICP) was signed, startling information on the acquisition of excess land for the project has come into the public domain, thanks to the Right to Information Act.

Excess

It is now established that, over these years, the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB) acquired excess land of nearly 7,000 acres for the controversial project in violation of the FWA.

The documents, obtained by many individuals and organisations under the RTI Act, and in the possession of The Hindu, disclose that the KIADB, as early as 1998-1999, notified 21,000 acres of private land as against the sanctioned area of 13,237 acres in the FWA.

Further, the KIADB in 1999 also notified 5,688 acres of Government land to be given to the project as against the sanctioned area of 6,956 acres in the FWA.

In all, the KIADB agreed to give 26,688 acres of land to NICE instead of 20,193 acres as agreed to by the Government in the FWA, signed on April 3, 1997.

‘Confidentiality clause’

The reason why these violations by the KIADB were buried all these years was because of a “confidentiality clause” in the FWA.

The clause reads: “Each party shall hold in strict confidence all confidential information received by it from the other party. The party receiving such confidential information shall not publish or otherwise disclose or use the confidential information for its own purposes… and shall cause its directors, officers, employees, servants, agents and contractors to be similarly bound by the covenants.” This silence has now been broken thanks to the RTI Act.

Acting on this new information, the State Government on July 17, 2008, wrote to the Chief Executive Officer of the KIADB seeking an explanation on the basis on which these lands were notified and in some cases, handed over to NICE.

According to the letter, in Section A of the toll road project alone, the KIADB has notified 12,586 acres of land instead of 6,999 acres sanctioned.

Section A

Section A comprises 41 km of peripheral road, 9.8 km of link road and 13 km of expressway from Bangalore to Bidadi.

The letter also points out that the KIADB notified 5,675 acres of land for the peripheral road portion alone as against 2,193 acres required in the FWA.

Similarly, for the link road, the KIADB has notified 563 acres of land as against 278 acres required in the FWA. For the expressway, the KIADB notified 6,348 acres against the requirement of 4,568 acres of land.

Meeting

However, the Empowered Committee, headed by the Chief Secretary, in its meeting held on August 5, is said to have delinked the issue of excess land from the completion of the peripheral road. It is likely to provide 75 acres of land for its completion, though strictly speaking these lands too fall in the excess land bracket.

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