Did the Congress allot land at throwaway prices for its party offices?

Read all about the latest allegations of illegal land allotment by the Congress government in KarnatakaPTI
news Corruption Monday, April 25, 2016 - 17:39

The Karnataka government’s allotment of prime lands in Mysuru, Mangaluru, Vijayapura and Belagavi for the establishment of Congress party offices at meager prices has garnered a lot of flak.

A media report revealed that the government allotted 10 guntas – approximately 10,890 square feet of land in the heart of Belgavi city for just Rs.500 per square feet to Belagavi District Congress Committee (BDCC).

What is the allegation?

The Congress government is alleged to have allotted land at throwaway prices to various district Congress committees.

A plot of prime land in the heart of Belgavi city was recently allotted to the District Congress Committee for Rs.54.45 lakhs. If the allotment procedure were in accordance with the rates fixed by the Siddaramaiah government, the BDCC should have purchased the land for Rs.7.6 crore. If one decides to go by the market price, however, the value of the land works out to double the rate fixed by the government, at Rs.15 crores. The purchase of a land at Rs.54.45 lakhs, is a “steal” for the BDCC.

Who is involved?

Laxmi Hebbalkar, who is currently the President of the Mahila Congress in addition to being the BDCC Chief, wrote to the State Urban Development department requesting land to be allotted for the construction and establishment of district party office.

Hebbalkar insisted on land that was close to the place where a Congress summit in which Mahatma Gandhi participated was held. The Belagavi City Corporation, acting upon the orders of the Department of Urban Development, asked BDCC to pay us Rs.7.62 crores in return for the land, as per the government guildelines for land that are to be used to semi-public purposes.

When was the new proposal submitted?

Dissatisfied by the directive, the BDCC on 19th March, 2015 filed fresh proposal seeking the land to be allotted at Rs.500 per square feet, thus working up to the current price (54.45 lakhs). The cabinet headed by the Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, approved the proposal but on the condition that it would be used solely for the construction of the party office and would not be given out on rent for other purposes.

Moreover, the BDCC wrote to the Corporation requesting they accept the amount payable to them in two installments – which was approved by the Cabinet last week, thus granting them permission to pay Rs.27.22 at the time of registration and the other half after two years.

How does this affect the Siddharamaiah government?

These allegations come even as the Congress government is trying to do damage control following a number of allegations that have hounded various ministers. These include the Wakf board scam which allegedly implicates at least 10 ministers, and two accusations against the Chief Minister for favouring his younger son Yathindra and the latter’s friend. 

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