Citizens in JP Nagar and BTM Layout have been rankled recently when red colour signs showed up on compound walls and entrances of homes and shops. The signs indicated that 7-8 metres of their property is going to acquired for yet another roadwidening project.
Last month, the BBMP decided it was going to widen the 14.5 kms-stretch from Silkboard (Hosur Road) through BTM Layout and JP Nagar to Mysore Road.
Do not miss our exclusive story for more on this and what citizens and shopkeepers are doing to protect their interests. What will happen over the next few months is unclear, but the BBMP says it is simply following Bengaluru’s Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP 2005-15) which designated this road for expansion.
Is it all that simple? Turn back to some recent history. The current CDP was drafted in 2005, and before the state government put its approval in June 2007, it went through a process that had more red marks on it that all of BBMP’s signs on the ring road.
First, it was drafted by the BDA, instead of the BMRDA, which was jurisdictionally wrong. Second, over 7200 objections were received from citizens. The designation of road corridors (for expansion) was in the list of contested issues. Third, recommendations from the BMRDA and the state government’s own Thomas Committee that went into citizens’ objections, were ignored by the BDA. The state government ‘approved’ the CDP, despite all this. All of this is recorded in a PIL citizens filed at the High Court in 2008. At the time of writing, the case was to come up for its final hearing.
Furthermore, BBMP says Transfer of Revelopment Rights (TDR) will be given to owners and lease-holders losing property. TDR rules say that if you lose 600 sq.ft of space, you will get compensatory certificates for 900 sq.ft.
Owners can sell this right to a developer for money, who in turn can use this to add more floor space elsewhere, which could increase congestion there. Alternatively, owners can also increase the built up area on the same property, which could lead to more congestion on the same road. So much for regulated growth.
So should citizens lose their property in vain? This is the muddy foundation on which the BBMP has undertaken this widening project. ⊕