Published On:February 7 2018
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Desperate residents petition CM for Sarjapur Road widening project.
In January 2018, the civic body issued the work order to widen the arterial Sarjapur Road, a 4.74 km long stretch. However, work is yet to begin on the project, which was envisioned 12 years ago.
Hence, associations of 27 apartments along the stretch submitted petitions to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to speed up the work.
Sudhir Ravindran, a resident, said, “There is complete lack of planning in the area. Several apartments have sprung up and the population has crossed 2 lakh, with no capacity to build additional infrastructure. Studies have revealed that the traffic volume on Sarjapur Road is many times its designed capacity. Sometimes, it takes over an hour-and-a-half to traverse this stretch.”
The stumbling block for work to begin is the civic body’s failure to take possession of 20.5 acres required for the widening project. Talks between BBMP and landowners has hit an impasse over compensation.
BBMP offers Transferable Development Rights (TDR) as compensation, but a majority of the 242 property-owners have demanded cash compensation as per the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013.
The guidance value in the area in ₹4,750/square feet, which means an estimated cost of over ₹800 crore. But the BBMP has earmarked only ₹84.5 crore for the entire project. Neither the BBMP nor the State government appears willing to pay money for land acquisition.
B.V. Ramachandra Reddy, former MLA from the area and one of the landowners, said TDR can't be forced on them and argued that they had the right to demand monetary compensation. “In August 2017 when BBMP issued notification for land acquisition offering TDR, we rejected it. But the civic body issued a work order without offering us compensation. We will not give possession of our land without cash compensation,” he said.
BBMP Commissioner N. Manjunath Prasad, said that they will try to convince property-owners to accept TDR and start acquiring properties of land owners who are willing to accept the offer.
Meanwhile, residents are running out of patience. “We have been waiting for 12 years. Whether landowners are compensated through TDR or cash is not our problem. We want the government to take up road-widening as a priority,” said Sudhir Ravindran.