Sunday, May 13, 2007

Townships or green belts? Anxiety rules the roost

It has been almost a week since the Bangalore Metropolitan Region Development Authority (BMRDA) called for the genereal publics objections any or suggestions with respect to its Interim Master Plan (IMP) for the development of Anekal, Nelamangala, Magadi, Hoskote and Kanakapura areas surrounding Bangalore. A large section of the people who have had a look in at the BMRDA office to check out the interim plan are shocked: for, their entire villages or layouts have been converted into a township or backetted as green belt in their respective interim master plan.

Jagadish K, a villager from Anekal, said that he has visited the BMRDA office for four days now to try and figure out the status of his land measuring two acres. "I agree that this is just an interim plan and not the final one. But as I saw in the map entire village and surrounding five other villages have been marked under commercial space. We have been living in this area for decades and now, if they want us to vacate the place, there is no meaning in it," he said.

Others among the public were worried whether they will get good prices for their land if the government was to acquire them. Shivashankar from Gudemaranahalli, which comes under Magadi taluk, noted that their entire village has been marked for a township. A representative group of 50 villagers has now filed a complaint before the BMRDA, he said. "Even if the government is acquiring our lands, we should be given the market value. Many of us in this village and the surrounding ones are small farmers and have lands not more than an acre each. We cant make a living with the sum that the government will give," he said.

Market value per acre of land in this village located near NH 48 ranges from Rs 35 lakh to 50 lakh while that of government is Rs 10 lakh. Professor Govindappa, an environmentalist from this area observed that villages like Gudemaranahalli and nearby Koodluru are rich in vegetation. BMRDA officials said that they have received more than 150 objections from the public as on Friday. Most of them are from Anekal, Hoskote and Nelamangala Local Planning Areas, they said.

One officer said that LPAs like Anekal have witnessed haphazard growth in terms of industry and commercial activities and therefore the queries are more from these areas. "From such areas, we are also receiving complaints on overlapping of industrial and residential areas.We will sort out such issues once we come out with the final master plan," he said.

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