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Land acquisition for eight-lane corridor reveals hilarious blunder

June 12, 2019 05:22 AM


After paying ₹5.9 cr, Palike realises land owner is BBMP itself
Land acquisition for eight-lane corridor reveals hilarious blunder
Civic body relied on land records, not actual survey, for Okalipuram project
| Y Maheswara Reddy

Have you ever come across anyone paying money to a third party for land that it owns? Well, when the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahana gara Palike (BBMP) is involved, anything is possible.

Here’s how the incredible story unfolded. The BBMP is working on a road widening project – it proposes to build an eight-lane signal-free corridor at Okalipuram – for which it required to acquire land near Krantiveera Sangolli Rayanna Railway Station.

On January 31, 2019, after due diligence, the BBMP authorities paid a compensation of Rs 5,92,42,280 (through DD No. 991433, dated 31.01.2019 issued by Syndicate Bank) to M/s Khoday Eshwarasa & Sons to acquire 2,115 sq ft of land for execution of the project.

A relinquishment deed was executed between M/s Khoday Eshwarasa & Sons and the Commiss ioner of BBMP on February 2, 2019.

When the BBMP contractor started demolishing the wall of Khoday’s nowdefunct distillery – located just behind where the eight-lane corridor is to come up – a writ petition was filed in the high court on April 15. M/s Khoday alleged that the BBMP was encroaching upon its land while executing the project. The high court then ordered for a re-survey of the land which was carried out on May 3. The survey report was prepared on May 24 and the findings were shocking.

According to the City Survey Department, the land is ‘B’ Kharab land. ‘B’ kharab land can neither be converted nor conveyed (transferred) to private parties. Which means that BBMP was the owner of the land in question all this while.

“The petitioner is in possession of 679.23 sq. metres of land in Survey No. 28, which is ‘B’ Kharab land (government land),’’ says J Vijaya Bhawani, Deputy Director of Land Records, City Survey, Bengaluru.

So how did the goof-up take place?

It is said the BBMP had opted for land records instead of surveying the land that is to be acquired for road widening. The same is borne out by a letter written by M/s Khoday Eshwarasa & Sons in a letter to the BBMP commissioner.

“In your letter you have requested us to hand over the possession of the land even without surveying the land and making payment of the sale consideration. Please note that the land belongs to the partnership firm having 11 partners. The other partners are not inclined to part with the land without property survey/demarcation and without receiving the sale consideration. Therefore, we once again request you to survey the land, decided the exact extent to be purchased by you, demark the same and fix the sale consideration,’’ it reads.

Sources say the BBMP authorities are now struggling to cover up their mistake and some officials even worked on a Sunday to fix this.

“It is quite surprising to see the BBMP authorities paying compensation to private people for government land acquired by them. It is quite baffling to know the speed at which the compensation was paid in this case while many property owners are waiting for years to get compensation for acquiring their land,’’ says S Amaresh, managing trustee, Right to Information Study Centre.

Keshav Deshpande, Head of Legal Cell, BBMP, told Bangalore Mirror that the petitioner (M/s Khoday Eshwarasa & Sons) had submitted two more documents on Monday claiming ownership of the land.

“We have to verify the documents produced by the petitioner. We will take a decision on this only after thoroughly checking the survey report submitted by the Deputy Director of Land Records. As of now, the question of BBMP planning to recover the money paid to the petitioner does not arise,’’ he said.

According to BBMP Commissioner N Manjunatha Prasad, the BBMP has opted for survey of the land when the petitioner objected to the civic body widening the road, claiming that it was his property.

“We have verified the documents submitted by the petitioner at the time of paying compensation. We went ahead with paying the compensation as we found the documents to be correct. Now, the petitioner has approached the court. The honourable court has directed him to produce documents. During the survey, it was found that the land belongs to the government. There will be no hassles in recovering the money from the petitioner,’’ he said.

Meanwhile, K L Ananthapadmanab Sa of M/s Khoday Eshwarasa & Sons, said that honest people, including Lord Sri Krishna, have always been troubled by others. “We have not cheated the government. We will not cheat the government,’’ he said

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