Siddaramaiah’s given the nod to re-start Karnataka's 'Greed-category' scam

Do we need the G-category housing site category at all?
Siddaramaiah’s given the nod to re-start Karnataka's 'Greed-category' scam
Siddaramaiah’s given the nod to re-start Karnataka's 'Greed-category' scam
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In seven years Karnataka (2004-2010) has had three chief ministers and in hindsight, none of them were immune to the G-category syndrome. Incumbent Chief Minister Siddaramaiah too, appears to be developing it.

The Karnataka government has now partially re-worked the law to allow the chief minister to sanction G-category sites or government plots in Bengaluru to people in public life.

Between 2004 and 2011, G category sites were allotted by former chief ministers N Dharam Singh, HD Kumaraswamy and BS Yeddyurappa to all and sundry. These include incumbent and former MLAs and MLCs, politicians, police officers, bureaucrats, journalists, and cooks, attendants and drivers of some politicians.

How many elected representatives were allotted G-category sites.
(This is not to indicate that all allotments were illegal)

  2006 2007 2008 2009 2010

HD Kumaraswamy, BS Yeddyurappa

BS Yeddyurappa BS Yeddyurappa BS Yeddyurappa
MPs 2 3   8 -
MLAs 48 31 (inlcuding 6 ex-MLAs)   84 7
MLCs 3 7   9 5
TOTAL  56 217 12 127 58

These were stopped in December 2010 when the Karnataka High Court told the state government that it had no power under Section 65 of the BDA Act to make G-category allotments. In 2012, it upheld the 2010 order but also questioned the government on sanctioning sites in the absence of any definition of the term “persons in public life”.

In 2013, the Padmaraj Commission recommended that 308 of the 313 sites allotted by these three chief ministers be cancelled. It urged the government to permit continued ownership to these allottees if they paid double the market rate. 

After sitting on the report for one-and-a-half-years, the Siddaramaiah government rejected it. Seven months later, on October 8, the state government changed the rules to allow G-category allotments, tweaking the definition of people in public life.

The Bengaluru Development Authority (Allotment of Sites) Rules of 1984 specify seven types of housing sites which can be allotted to various groups of people. The last category – G – was to be allotted to “persons in public life as may be directed by the government”.

The various categories under the BDA Act, which can be given to people in Bengaluru
A To be auctioned
B Sportspersons
C Those who excel in arts, science, literature, education, medicine and public administration
D Ex-servicemen
E Freedom fighters who have lived in Karnataka for min 10 years
F Dependents of govt servants who die in line of duty
G Persons in public life as may be directed by the government

Now, the government has defined the term in the BDA’s Revised Guidelines on Allotment of Stray Sites 1997 which regulated the allotment of G-category housing site, paving the way for a repeat of the allotment wave between 2004 and 2011.

“Persons who are serving the public or available to the people for service as a whole and are involved in the affairs of the community in different capacities and includes person who are or were elected or nominated to Parliament or the State legislature.”

With this the Congress government has once again opened the flood gates for legislators to own prime plots of land in Bengaluru, obtained at concessional rates, when in many cases, in spite of already owning land in the city or in other districts of the state.

Why do we need this category in the first place? As brand consultant Harish Bijooor said on Twitter, “The Greed category is back”.

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