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Karnataka legislative panel's shocker to BDA site owners

By Anusha Ravi

The report is yet to be submitted to the cabinet, but OneIndia has accessed details of the conclusions drawn and suggestions given by the committee even before it is made public. The shocker among them being legal owners losing ownership of encroached land.

The legislative panel led by Karnataka assembly speaker K B Koliwad is all set to be taken to the cabinet following which it will be tabled in the assembly. The panel has studied over 1,545 lakes in Bengaluru urban and rural districts and is expected to give out a voluminous 10,000 page report. The panel has made visits to all lakes that are existing, on the verge of extinction and some that have vanished without a trace as well due to rampant encroachment.

Karnataka legislative panel's shocker to BDA site owners

What is in the report?

The panel has categorised encroachments into public and private, residential and commercial etc. Depending on the category, the committee has suggested specific penalisation for different types of encroachers. The panel has also suggested parameters of solution, recovery depending on the extent, location of encroachment and has also made space for alternatives to seizure and recovery if possible in situations where land can not be reclaimed.

The committee has carried out extensive study on each lake they visited and are keen on giving out in depth information of each lake. Apart from the encroachment details, they will also present history, timeline of the lake and development around it.

BDA site owners in trouble?

The key suggestion of the report is on the ownership of land acquired by government bodies and sold as plots to citizens. The Bengaluru Developmen Authority is found to be one of the biggest governmental encroachers. What can come as alarming to BDA site owners is that they will lose ownership of the land despite possessing legal documentation. The panel has suggested that the government take over the ownership of encroached land and make a lease agreement with those owning the site.

In this process, the government will become the lessor of the land and the owner will be reduced to a lessee, a tenant. While the citizens will be allowed to continue living in the encroached land, they will lose ownership over it. The lease will be a transferable one and one can transfer it to another but not sell it as would have been the case if it were a regular property. While the BDA will be heavily penalised for encroaching, they will not be made liable to pay any compensation to the residents.

The suggestions however, will make way for many questions. Will the government make residents pay once more for lease agreements? Will the residents be asked to pay up for the BDA's error? The money that BDA acquired through sales of plots has already been invested in other projects, how then will the BDA pay any fine? While the government is yet to go through the suggestions, it is unlikely that the same will be changed.

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