The last time the Authority called for applications, 2.5 lakh citizens applied for sites in the layout. But most of them were sent back empty-handed as there were only a handful of plots at the BDA’s disposal. Subsequently, 8,813 citizens were allotted sites, but seven years later, they are still waiting for their promised land. Reason: Indiscriminate denotification, farmer compensations and litigations that the layout has entangled itself in.
Very few allottees now harbour any hopes of building houses in the layout. This is one story that has set the alarm bells ringing among most urban planners and the BDA to ensure that such a fiasco does not recur.
Having mooted the concept of group housing, the BDA is now looking at extending a olive branch to citizens who wish to own a property in the City. Reason: Shrinking land space and increasing pressure on the modes of traffic has left the City in the throes of a chaos.
But can their plan of providing group housing be considered an alternative?
For nearly five years, Subbaramaiah (70) and his son-in-law, Shiv Prakash (41), have been running from pillar to post at the BDA to find a solution to their predicament. Having invested Rs 2.27 lakh for a 30x40 (1,200 sqft) site in Arkavathy Layout, Subbaramaiah is now finding it difficult to even move out of his home. “With age catching up with my father-in-law, I have been representing him, meeting the BDA officials and running around for the site. But there has been no respite,” lamented Prakash.
His meetings with engineers and officials from the BDA have yielded nothing but empty promises or rude remarks, something that any citizen would wish to avoid. When asked if he would have preferred buying an apartment instead of a piece of land, Prakash said: “How can we trust the BDA? While the concept is truly admirable with the shrinking land space in the City, there is no trust in the Authority to provide citizens with quality construction.”
An answer that many believe is closer to truth.
Despite the likelihood of the BDA going under a public-private partnership model, it is still not clear whether there will be any checks and balances in place to look into the quality of construction.
Yet another beneficiary of a site in Arkavathy Layout, Sanjay Marlecha, also echoed the same view. “There is no guarantee that the BDA will provide quality housing on land that can be denotified in a fraction of a second. Look at Arkavathy Layout. Where is it heading? Nobody can say when we will receive our rightful share of land,” he rued.
Fifty-three-year-old Subbaramu, who has attempted thrice previously to procure a BDA site, blamed the BDA for its inefficiency in allotting sites to those who have been in the queue for a long time. “We can never trust the BDA when it comes to apartments.
Already they have a huge backlog in providing sites to citizens; when will they construct the apartments? Even if they do, what is the guarantee they will not throw us out. If there is a site in my name, I can, at least, show my rightful ownership.”
So, can the BDA allay these fears of the citizens? While the proposal to provide group housing is still under consideration, it seems the citizens’ opinions are yet to be taken into account. Will the BDA give any clear answers?
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