BANGALORE: "I have fought Pakistani soldiers on the borders when I was in the Army, but I could not fight the land grabbers who tried to attack me," said a 78-year-old ex-army man who is struggling to build a house on his site in Arkavathy Layout.
Ex-army man S G Prakash is among the 8,813 people who have failed to take possession of the sites sold to them by the BDA in Arkavathy Layout.
On Tuesday, seven site owners, including Prakash, accompanied by a TOI team, visited the layout. The layout is in such a mess that two allottees, textile entrepreneur S Surya Narayan and C M Raghu Kumar who had not seen their sites till date, failed to figure out where their plots stood.
Spread over 1,500 acres, the layout is interspersed with densely populated layouts and swathes of vacant land covered in weeds and construction debris.
Surya Narayan was allotted a site in III block near Sampigehalli. "When we ask BDA officials for the site details, they give us only the site number. They have no map to point out to us where exactly it stands." he said.
Construction debris was dumped on the site allotted to ex-army man Prakash in 19th block at Babusa Palya near Kalyan Nagar. Prakash, who has BDA approval for building a house, recalled his aborted construction plans.
"Two months ago I tried to ferry construction material to my site. But some land grabbers attacked me and threatened to throw acid on my face,'' said Prakash, who had a police team accompanying him during Tuesday's visit.
When Prakash told BDA about the incident, he was asked to stop construction till the authority compensated farmers who had lost their lands.
"I don't understand how BDA allotted sites to us, without completing the land acquisition process. Farmers who gave away land are not seen anywhere near the layout. But there are land grabbers who make sure that none of us build houses on the sites," Prakash said.
Shivaprakash G, who visited his site in Geddalahalli, said: "It's no rocket science to form a layout. BDA engineers who should be on the field are seen in their offices sitting jobless."
"Had we invested savings in a private layout, we would have built our dream houses by now," an allottee grudgingly said.
To award compensation to farmers, we must do a re-survey. It will be taken up soon. Once the compensation is paid to the farmers, the site owners can take possession of their plots," a BDA official said.
However, BDA declined to comment on the lack of civic amenities and connectivity to the sites.
How BDA lost its plot
*BDA floated Arkavathy Layout plan in 2003 with a promise to provide 20,000
sites to Bangaloreans. It identified 3,900 acres of land for acquisition and issued preliminary notification
*Final notification issued in 2004; BDA acquired 2,750 acres
*Facing problems in acquiring land, BDA allotted only 8,813 sites in 2006
* At the end of protracted legal battle, Supreme Court said in 2010 that site allotment process should be completed at the earliest and just compensation awarded to farmers
*In February 2011, home minister R Ashoka announced that BDA would part with 40% of developed land as compensation to farmers
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