Road widening driving citizens to surveying firms

Residents of Bengaluru are now hiring private surveyors to measure their property, which is marked for road widening by BBMP. This is because the BBMP’s Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) notices do not provide detailed information on how much land will be required for acquisition.

In April this year, residents of Golden Corner Apartments on Sarjapur Road received a notice from the BBMP, informing them about acquisition of a portion of their property for road widening. The notice says the road is to be widened by 45 feet and that the Apartment Association should submit land records using the Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) form.

Residents of Golden Corner Apartments on Sarjapur Road carried out a survey of their property to determine the exact amount of land they’ll lose to road widening. Pic: Meera K.

The notice does not mention anything about the amount of land required to be acquired from the apartment. A marking on a pole outside the apartment indicates ‘5.3 m’ with an arrow pointing towards the building. A subsequent Right to Information (RTI) application to the BBMP revealed that an average of 7.4 metres throughout the length of the property is proposed for acquisition. This again was only an average for the entire stretch of road to be widened.

The Golden Corner Apartment Owners Association decided to carry out a survey after speaking to a BBMP Junior Engineer. Bharti says that the engineer himself gave them a contact number of a land surveyor, Alcon Surveyors. But later they found Guideline Surveys in the yellow pages and approached them for the task. On contacting Alcon Surveyors, they said that they have so far not carried out any such survey in the city but have recently started a pilot project for the BBMP for road widening.

The Golden Corner Apartments Association decided to find out for themselves, the extent of property they would be required to give up. And they hired a land surveying company to do this for them.

So Guideline Surveys, a Domlur-based topomapping and surveying consultant company, did a physical survey of the Golden Corner property in May, wherein they measured the existing plot size and the amount of land that may need to be given up to road widening.

Bharti Jayshankar, President, Golden Corner Apartments’ Association, says the surveyors pointed out to the exact portion of their property that will be acquired. "We decided to do a survey to be sure of how much (land) we are losing. We don’t want to be caught unawares. We should be prepared with actual facts", she explains.

Citizens turn to private surveyors

L A Arri, Managing Partner, Guideline Surveys, says that people have been approaching them for surveys with respect to road widening, for three main reasons. They give them precise measurements of their property, calculate how much property will be lost to road widening, and if required land includes the building or only setback.

Guideline Surveys’ Managing Partner, L A Arri, shows a survey map of one of the road widening projects they worked on. Pic: Vaishnavi Vittal

"People are afraid that more land will be taken and less compensation will be given", says Arri.

These maps are given in a digital format to the client and also show what the property will look like after land loss. The maps also include point-to-point information on the location of poles, trees and so on, on the property. Arri says the BBMP will not give all this information to residents.

Incidentally, Guideline Surveys has also carried out land surveys for various government agencies including the BBMP, BDA, BMRDA and Housing Board. Their recent major project has been surveying the Kempe Gowda Bus station (popularly known as Majestic) which is proposed to be revamped.

They have also done surveys for BBMP’s road widening projects for junctions including Outer Ring Road to Horamavu, KR Puram to Tin Factory, Kundalahalli to Kadugodi, and Ramamurthynagar Main Road.

For private clients, the company has carried out surveys in areas like Hennur Main Road, JP Nagar, Dr Rajkumar Road and Sarjapur Road for road widening.

The road-widening saga

  • In TDR notices, the BBMP only mentions the proposed road widening width. They do not mention the specific amount of property that an independent house/apartment/commercial establishment will lose. BBMP says this information is marked in red on walls.
  • In case a BESCOM transformer (in an apartment complex) is on the land that needs to be acquired, the apartment owners have to bear the cost of shifting it. BBMP will only pay shifting cost in case of public transformers.
  • The cost of demolition of property to be given to BBMP for road widening will have to be borne by the owner/resident. The BBMP will not compensate for this.
  • In the case of apartments where balconies are present above the proposed footpath, BBMP’s Chief Engineer (Major Roads) Chikkarayappa says they will be demolished if they are below 5.5 m from the ground level.

BBMP’s Chief Engineer (Major Roads), T N Chikkarayappa says that that TDR notices only mention the length of road widening to be done. "We anyways make markings on the wall", he adds.

Tell him that residents are unsure of the details of road widening projects and he says that they provide all information in a pamphlet. "You tell me who has doubts, I’ll tell my engineers to give information", he says.

About people carrying out surveys privately, Chikkarayappa says, "If there is any doubt, they can definitely carry out surveys and check for any discrepancy."

Meanwhile, at Golden Corner Apartments, the survey report is expected to be submitted soon. Bharti says they will then decide on what the next step will be.  

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About Vaishnavi Vittal 140 Articles
Vaishnavi Vittal is a Bangalore-based journalist.