Bengaluru’s CA sites are ‘Crorepathi Amenities’

If the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) goes into a government authority’s books, you might expect a hundred scams to emerge. This, especially if it has to do with a land authority in Bengaluru.

This CA site in JP Nagar 6th phase was designated for a park-cum-playground after many disputes. But, part of the site was encroached for building two temples. File Pic.

Bus stands, schools, hospitals, markets and other public amenities in the city usually come up on Civic Amenity sites. Such sites are allotted by BDA to Trusts or government agencies, for development. But many of these sites have been misused for personal profit, or allotted illegally. This was revealed by a report last month by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), Karnataka. Many CA sites remain abandoned or misused, leading to lack of civic amenities in many areas.

During the first week after the CAG report came out, the dailies carried several individual stories from the report. This Citizen Matters article is an indepth look at the overall scale of BDA’s wrongful CA allottments, as exposed by the CAG.

Cases in the report show how easily BDA has helped select groups benefit, to the tune of crores of rupees. This is the same BDA which makes the general public wait for decades for a site. Those who illegally benefited include religious and educational trusts to media houses.

One glaring example is that of Siddharth Vihara Trust, whose Founder-Chairman is Mallikarjun Kharge, Union Minister for Labour and Employment. The Trust was leased prime land – a 8125 sq m CA site in Banashankari 6th stage – to start an educational institution.

The trust had to pay Rs 2.03 cr as lease amount (for a 30-year-lease), but it asked for concession on grounds that it was managed by SC/ST members. BDA Commissioner at the time, Bharat Lal Meena, agreed, and halved the payment.

Actually concession could have been given only if the Trust works exclusively for SC/ST community, and not because it is managed by SC/ST members. Besides, the concession was given to the Trust even before government brought in this provision. BDA lost over Rs 1 cr in this case. BDA further obliged when the trust asked for an alternate site saying that the current site was in an underdeveloped layout. Though there is no provision to give alternate CA sites, BDA gave a new site – this too with 50% concession – in the well-developed BTM 4th stage.

In another case, BDA gave a 5151 sq m site to Bennett Coleman and Co (which owns the national newspaper Times of India), for a corporate office. This site, in Manyatha Promoters Layout in Rachenahalli, was allotted based on directions of the then-Chief Minister B S Yedyurappa. Allotting CA site for a private corporate office is illegal. It was also done slyly, without notifying public. Thirdly, government cannot order an allotment directly; only a committee called CASAC (CA Sites Allotment Committee) – headed by BDA Chairman – can allot sites.

Other googlies by BDA:

1) BDA illegally leased CA sites for Rs 4.8 cr to a builder in Yeshwanthpur, who then refused to pay up. Builder had relinquished these sites in the complex to BDA as per rules, but later asked the land back to build a club house, in 2007. According to the rules then, CA sites could not be given back to builder. But based on Yedyurappa government’s order, BDA allotted the land to builder. After getting the land, the builder decided not to pay. BDA could not demand payment as allotment itself was illegal. The case is in court now.

2) BDA allotted CA site of 720 sq m to a Society, but later found that this site had been previously allotted to someone else. BDA offered an alternate site, which the Society refused saying that the site was too far. BDA then gave new sites in two layouts, which combined, was 32% bigger than the first site. Later it was found that one of these sites had been marked for a hospital; the Layout Association there has asked BDA to cancel the allotment again.

New Cambridge Educational Trust, Rashtreeya Shikshana Samithi Trust (which owns RV Group of educational institutions) and Suchitra Cine Trust in Banashankari, are others who got illegal sites or financial favours from BDA.

Here is a roundup of the different ways in which CA sites were misused:

No justification for allotting sites

The CASAC should have a reason for selecting one allottee from among many applicants. In all the CA site allotments made in 2007-12, CASAC did not give any reason for selecting allottees.

Sites misused for commercial purpose

Only from a sample that CAG looked at, it found misuse in eight cases. All violations had been reported long back by BDA’s own engineers, but no action was taken.

In Vasanth Nagar, a 1100 sq m CA site was allotted for a school hostel. Now, in addition to the hostel, there is a commercial complex here. The allottee is getting revenue of about Rs 5 lakh from this per month, while paying monthly lease of Rs 12 (twelve) to BDA. Other cases include building a gas godown in the site allotted for a Kannada medium school, building a Kalyana Mantapa instead of a temple, etc.

Lease on sites not renewed

Out of the total 1234 CA sites, lease was not renewed for 71 sites for many years. Sixty of these are occupied by private organisations; among these are organisations that have not renewed lease even 32 years after its expiry. BDA is supposed to take back the land in case of non-renewal, but this was not done. BDA’s loss in this case, is Rs 43 cr.

Not allotting sites at all

BDA lost another Rs 192 cr by not allotting CA sites at all. The oldest of these sites is in HAL 3rd stage layout, formed in 1975. Some 9 lakh sq m land is remaining unused in the city this way. Not allotting the sites also led to lack of civic amenities in these areas. The highest number of unallotted sites are in west division. About 1.45 lakh sq m land (spread across 29 CA sites) are stuck in court cases, but BDA did not even have details about how long the cases had been going on.

Some of the cases of violation marked on the map. The size of each blue marker corresponds to the estimated loss.

<a id="ptestid" href="#" onclick="show_popup('popup1', 'ptestid', 'Case 1: 1692 sq m in RPC Layout', '

Beneficiary New Cambridge Educational Trust
Leased for School and playground
Violation Trust encroached a park site. Then BDA gave it to them on lease. It also gave concession in lease and encroachment penalty amount saying that only part of the site was used for buildings.
Loss to BDA Rs 3.9 cr
Why did the CAG object? 1) Sites marked for park cannot be given to a private Trust.
2) Lease is for entire site, but no lease amount collected for playground area. Penalty for encroachment reduced without reason
Who approved? BDA Commissioner Bharat Lal Meena had approved the reduced penalty.

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Case 1: 1692
sq m in RPC Layout

<a id="ptestid2" href="#" onclick="show_popup('popup2', 'ptestid2', 'Case 2', '

Beneficiary Rashtrotthana Parishat
Leased for Yoga, gym and health centre
Violation CM ordered site allotment upon Parishat’s request; public were not notified
Loss to BDA
Why did the CAG object? 1) CM cannot order CA site allotment directly
2) Public should be notified about site availability so that they can apply for it.
Who approved? B S Yedyurappa

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Case 2: 9062 sq m in Sadashivanagar

<a id="ptestid3" href="#" onclick="show_popup('popup3', 'ptestid3', 'Case 3', '

Beneficiary Homeopathic Foundation, Bangalore
Leased for Its activities
Violation Residential site given as CA site, levying low lease amounts.
Loss to BDA Rs 2.2 cr
Why did the CAG object?

1) Govt ordered site allotment directly

2) It was an intermediate residential site which can only be auctioned for high amounts

Who approved? B S Yedyurappa

‘ , 400);return false;”>

Case 3: 353 sq m in Dollars Colony, BTM Layout 2nd stage

<a id="ptestid4" href="#" onclick="show_popup('popup4', 'ptestid4', 'Case 4', '

Beneficiary Siddhartha Vihara Trust
Leased for Educational institution
Violation Lease amount halved; alternative CA site given illegally
Loss to BDA Rs 1 cr
Why did the CAG object?

1) Concession in lease given, saying that Trust was managed by SC/ST members. But actually this can be given only if the Trust works exclusively for SC/ST community

2) Concession given before the provision for it became applicable

3) No provision to give alternative CA site. But it was given to the Trust in BTM layout when they said that the Banashankari site was underdeveloped.

Who approved?

Bharath Lal Meena

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Case 4: 8125 sq m in Banashankari 6th stage

<a id="ptestid5" href="#" onclick="show_popup('popup5', 'ptestid5', 'Case 5', '

Beneficiary Bennett Coleman and Co
Leased for Corporate office
Violation CM ordered allotment directly for corporate office; not publicly notified
Loss to BDA
Why did the CAG object? 1) CA site cannot be given for private corporate office
2) Allotted on CMs orders without public notification
Who approved? B S Yedyurappa

‘ , 400);return false;”>

Case 5: 5151 sq m in Manyatha Promoters Layout, Rachenahalli

<a id="ptestid6" href="#" onclick="show_popup('popup6', 'ptestid6', 'Case 6', '

Beneficiary Suchitra Cine Trust
Leased for Film society
Violation BDA allowed the Trust to pay only less than one-fourth of actual lease amount, and showed as if it had donated the remaining amount to the Trust for building a cine academy
Loss to BDA Rs 49.42 lakh
Why did the CAG object? BDA has no provision to waive lease amount or to donate to a private Trust
Who approved? B S Yedyurappa

‘ , 400);return false;”>

Case 6: 2412 sq m in Banashankari

<a id="ptestid7" href="#" onclick="show_popup('popup7', 'ptestid7', 'Case 7', '

Beneficiary Rashtreeya Shikshana Samithi
Leased for College
Violation BDA renewed lease two years before expiry. CAG suspects that this was done to help the Samithi avoid the higher lease slab which became effective some months later.
Loss to BDA Rs 8 cr
Why did the CAG object? Lease cannot be renewed before expiry
Who approved? Bharat Lal Meena

‘ , 400);return false;”>

Case 7: 23,092 sq m in Sarakki Layout

RELATED
RELATED

Addendum
CAG had placed its report before the legislative assembly, at the winter session in Belgaum held on December 5th-13th. Opposition parties – Congress and JD(S) – had demanded that the session be extended by a day to discuss this report and other issues. But Speaker K G Bopaiah had turned down the request, and because of this Congress and JD(S) had boycotted the last day of the session.

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About Navya P K 240 Articles
Navya P K is a former senior staff journalist at Citizen Matters, and a freelance journalist based in Kerala.

4 Comments

  1. Was surprised to see a mega structure built up at BSK 6th Stage 4th Block CA site. On inquiring the locals came to know this belongs to RV College of Engg Architecture department. There are no sign boards and looks like they are doing this in a haste. Not sure if the residential owners around have noticed this and are either oblivious or not worried. Maybe the case 4 in this article is connected, but who can confirm?

  2. What a bunch of hypocrites the Times of India people are! They shamelessly write about corruption in their newspapers while themselves seeking land illegally with political help!

  3. CMR college is HRBR layout is on the land that was meant for a park.

    But who cares.. And so the BDA officials and politicians go scot free..

    Let the city propser or suffer an epidemic tomorrow.. these smart guys will continue to mint even from the ROT!!!

  4. how is this for a begining , coffee board layout (B.D.A. APPROVED)in hebbal,kempapura,appx 55 acres, does not even have a single sq ft of c.A.site as per B.D.A.plan.

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