Sunday, April 13, 2008

Investing near ‘Dryanahalli’?

No Roads and now no water and no commercial approvals. Maybe electricity for 4 hours a day. Investors in Devenahalli are screwed.

BANGALORE: Sheer lack of groundwater is set to dampen investors’ spirits in reaping benefits by investing in property in the proximity of Bengaluru International Airport (BIA) in Devanahalli.

No approvals have been granted for any commercial establishment in the vicinity of the new airport for the last five months. This is a clear indication of the poor planning ahead of commencing the mega project.

Authorities knew since 1969 that Devanahalli was shaky on the water front, but still allowed the airport project. According to the Dynamic Ground Water Resource Study in March 2004, groundwater in the area has been over-exploited, said Deputy Director, Department of Mines and Geology, Srikantha Murthy.

"Groundwater is not a dependable source in the area and so we don’t advise usage of borewells, especially for huge commercial establishments," he said.

"Devanahalli was declared a ‘dark area’ in terms of water availability way back in 1969. KSPCB will not approve any projects until the developers indicate sustainable source of water in their plans," H C Sharatchandra, Chairman, Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) said.

In keeping with that, no commercial establishment in BIA’s vicinity has been approved in five months. Moreover, any residential project of more than ground+1 floors has not been sanctioned recently. Many applications for residential and commercial projects are lying with different authorities.

"In the last 18 months, not more than three residential projects have got approvals," Sharatchandra told this website's News Paper.

BWSSB has already clarified it would not supply water to the area surrounding the airport. Rainwater harvesting, recycling and reuse of water cannot fulfil the water demands for huge establishments, confirmed KSPCB environmental officer C D Kumar.

"It depends on the local bodies to decide whether the area is really capable of development in a big way. Bangalore International Airport Area Planning Authority (BIAAPA), being the local body for the area, is duty-bound to ensure the availability of water before approving developmental projects," said Kumar.

However, officials of Banagalore Metropolitan Region Development Authority (BMRDA) attribute less commercial development in the area to less commercial land use.

"Out of around 792 sq km area under the jurisdiction of BIAAPA, very little is marked for commercial development. I think all the land marked under this is already allotted. Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB) has acquired some land that they might give for commercial development," said an official.

"Many developers and hotels have acquired agricultural land; we will not approve of that. They can put their boards on the property but cannot use it for commercial development."

Despite this fragile situation, an BMRDA official actively involved in projects near the Airport, said there was no restriction on usage of borewells in the area. Interestingly, one of the bye-laws of BIAAPA clearly states: "Only in exceptional cases can borewell be provided in shopping complexes and residential apartments, subject to approval."

Meanwhile residential developers continue advertising for ‘BIAAPA approved residential sites for sale,’ claiming that houses will have 24 hour groundwater supply. BWSSB will start supplying water to these areas in a year’s time, they claim. And the hotel industry still remains hopeful of big opportunities in the area.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Today's judgement "Old Bangalore airport stays, rules High Court" means that investors in Devanahalli are screwed