BMRCL won’t acquire land near Bhadra Tiger Reserve
- Acquiring forest land in Kadugodi is proving to be difficult task for the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL). The corporation is facing one hurdle after another in its attempt to acquire land for a depot.
- It had initially planned to purchase 67 acres of private land near Bhadra Tiger Reserve in lieu of forest land in Kadugodi. However, this has been dropped.
- The land owners were quoting an exorbitant price.
- They wanted compensation of approximately Rs. 1 crore per acre
- Acting on suggestions from the forest department, the BMRCL has now identified 16 acres of revenue land near Thippagondanahalli. This will be acquired to take up afforestation work as compensatory land for the Kadugodi plot.
- After the plan to acquire the land near Bhadra Tiger Reserve fell through, the forest department suggested the revenue land available near Madapatna forest. They have already written to the deputy commissioner concerned to facilitate transfer of the land
- Finding compensatory land in lieu of the Kadugodi plot has been a problem for BMRCL.
- The metro corporation had purchased 29.3 acres from 14 property owners in Dandeli for which it had paid compensation of Rs. 3 lakh per acre. It had planned to purchase another 15 acres. However, the plots of land were available in different locations, and not suitable to take up afforestation work.
- They are acquiring land as per the requirement of the forest department.
- The 45 acres in Kadugodi are crucial for the metro extension project from Baiyappanahalli to Whitefield. The BMRCL has a depot at Baiyappanahalli on the Purple Line.
- The land at Kadugodi will be used for a second depot on the same line, but acquisition of this land is also facing several legal hurdles.
- For one, there are fears that ‘compensation land’ to be given to the forest department will not be of “worth” its value considering the land cost in Bengaluru.
- According to sources, the forest department has categorically told the BMRCL that it will first have to provide compensatory land before they could consider diversion of Kadugodi forest land for the metro project.
Now, PPP projects can’t take off sans required land
- In a major policy decision, Karnataka has decided that no infrastructure project involving public-private partnership (PPP) will be considered for implementation if a minimum 70% of the required land is not available.
- The move will impact PPP infrastructure projects worth Rs 1.68 lakh crore in the pipeline in agriculture, energy, health, IT-telecom, tourism, logistics and other sectors.
- These include big-ticket projects such as creation of National Investment and Management Zones (NMIZs) and Disneyland in Bengaluru.
- In fact, the government has projected this move as a “risk mitigation measure” in the PPP Policy for Infrastructure Projects 2018, which was cleared earlier this year and is now ready for implementation.
- The government shall put in place appropriate process to expedite land acquisition. However, prior to tendering of any infrastructure project, minimum 70% of the required land for the project should be available for implementation.
- If the land available is less than 70%, the project will not be put to tender – the policy states.
- This clause was missing in the 2015 and 2007 versions of the policy.
- The decision assumes significance also in the wake of several lift irrigation schemes such as Singatalur and road works, civic infrastructure works in urban areas among many others stuck due to unavailability of land.
- Recently, Water Resources Minister D K Shivakumar admitted that big-ticket irrigation projects, including Yettinahole and Upper Krishna, had run into land acquisition trouble.
- The minimum land clause, was an extension of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, which makes it mandatory for PPP projects to have prior consent of 70% landowners from whom land is to be acquired.
- With the rejigged PPP policy for infrastructure projects, the government has increased the singlewindow sanction limit to Rs 500 crore from the existing Rs 50 crore. The policy also prescribes interventions to ensure better implementation of projects.
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