Less than a month ago amidst speculations over properties of Sandalwood actor Darshan, and Congress leaders Shamanur Shivashankarappa and DK Shiva Kumar in RR Nagar area in Bengaluru encroaching on Rajakaluves (storm water drains), BBMP officials promised to take action as soon as the joint report was out.
Based on the joint report that was released on Thursday, it was found that the properties do encroach rajakaluves. However, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike has now washed its hands off the issue by leaving the final decision to demolish or not to the Bengaluru (urban) deputy commissioner Shankar.
BBMP had started the demolition drive on August 4, less than a week after various areas of the city were inundated due to heavy rains.
Speaking to The News Minute, former IAS officer V Balasubramanian says that this clearly exposes the double standards of the corporation: “This is a clear example of 'Show me the man, I’ll show you the law.'
Balasubramanian had served as the chairperson of the Task Force for Recovery of Public Lands and its Protection for Karnataka till 2013.
“Why couldn’t they refer the previous cases to the deputy commissioner, as they have done in case of the properties belonging to influential people like actors and ministers?”he asks.
One cannot be surprised if people who were affected by the demolition felt betrayed by this decision by the Palike. Over 100 houses across the city were subjected to partial demolition in July. Most of the houses belonged to people from poor and middle class families.
Nilesh* -a Bengaluru resident- whose house was partially razed by BBMP in August, said that he expected this. “How can we be same as actor Darshan? Of course the law is different for him,” he remarks sarcastically.
“When my house was being demolished, I literally woke up to the bulldozers that day. There was no notice at all. Now it has been more than a month since they demolished, there is still no sign of a SWD being built in the area. They could have referred our case to the DC like they did in Darshan’s case, and we could have at least bought more time,”he adds.
Nilesh’s wife was heavily pregnant at that time. He had to request the contractors to leave the staircase intact, so that they could at least make arrangements to shift to a safer location.
In 2003, the Rajarajeshwari Pratisthapana Samithi had filed a PIL in the Karnataka High Court asking for cancellation of the layout as it encroached on government land, and the court ordered a probe, BBMP commissioner Manjunatha Prasad told TOI.
According to Prasad, the investigation revealed that seven acres and six guntas of government land has been encroached upon.
The BDA submitted in the court that there were 63 sites including the Shamanur Shivashankarappa Hospital on the encroached land.
In 2007, the developers of Ideal Homes layout had also approached the High Court. However, he had no clue of what happened thereafter, reported the newspaper.
BBMP commissioner and the joint commissioner (RR Nagar ward) Veerabhadrappa did not respond to phone calls by The News Minute to clarify their stance in the said matter.