CM should not allot G cat sites

Dr Ashwin Mahesh writes to the Chief Minister regarding the ongoing G category sites issue. He will be meeting him in the next few days to make a personal appeal to take immediate remedial steps.

Respected Chief Minister,

I write to you with considerable sadness, that a liked and respected politician today stands accused of unlawfully obtaining a G category site from the government. It is extremely unfortunate that we have reached this moment. I have known the Minister to be a good person, and I hope this allegation is not true. I hope there is a fair and tenable explanation to rebut what is said. At the same time, I urge you to take some steps to remedy the situation that has brought us here, so that we may not come to it repeatedly in the future too.

1. The intent of providing lands to people from BDA and other planning authorities is that those without access to home ownership in the cities should benefit from such allotments. In the past few years, however, this sound motive appears to have been completely forgotten. Extremely well off persons from other cities and villages claim that they have no land in Bangalore, and seek sites as a result. Many others from this region simply lie that they have no other properties. It seems there is no shortage of persons wanting to take advantage of the potential generosity of the state. Please direct the BDA and other planning authorities to develop a different logic for determining who the truly ‘needy’ persons are.

Karnataka Law Minister S Suresh Kumar was alleged of securing a BDA site under the government (G) category. On Tuesday he decided to withdraw his resignation which he had given on Saturday, after the advocate-general exonerated him of the charge that he had violated rules in securing allotment of a residential site.

2. This should remind us of another long-pending reform in municipalities and planning bodies, which can easily tackle much of this risk. These entities could easily keep a dossier of who owns which property. Why should BDA rely solely on declarations from applicants themselves that they own no other property in the city? After all the hype about e-registration and 15 years of IT in administration, we’re not able to crack a simple data-query problem like this. Please direct the authorities to establish an online, public database of all government holdings, updated annually; only this level of transparency and accessible record-keeping will keep indefensible allotments at bay.

3. We must also understand why corruption in allotment of land continues. It happens because of the evident difference in value between the allotment price and the true market price of lands. This is a clear distortion. It is also an insult, and nothing short of an attack on farmers in peri-urban areas who are routinely dispossessed to make sites for urban dwellings. Every one of our planning authorities in cities today is involved in this disgraceful arbitrage of land value between relatively poor farmers and relatively well-off city dwellers. This is a tragedy that has gone on for long enough in our country, and must be ended. I urge you to announce an immediate end to all discretionary allotments of land and other public assets – by you, your office, and by all offices of ministers in your government. I am confident these measures will help restore public trust in land management and governance in Bangalore and other cities. Many officials in government departments themselves have argued for such reforms for a long time, but have been sidelined or ignored all these years. It is time to heed the warning bells, which are now ringing all around us.

Respectfully,

Dr Ashwin Mahesh

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Similar Story

Lok Sabha 2024: Know your MP – Manoj Kumar Tiwari, North East Delhi

Former Bhojpuri actor Manoj Kumar Tiwari has represented the North East Delhi constituency for two consecutive terms. A look at his last tenure

Manoj Kumar Tiwari is a two-time Lok Sabha member representing the North East Delhi constituency. He was an actor-singer in the Bhojpuri film industry. He began his political career with the Samajwadi Party; he contested and lost the 2009 Lok Sabha election from Gorakhpur constituency in Uttar Pradesh. He then joined the BJP in 2013, contesting the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha elections from North East Delhi Constituency, and emerging victorious in both.   Read more: Lok Sabha 2024: A people’s manifesto for urban areas In 2019, Tiwari got 53.9% of the 16,35,204 votes cast in the constituency, which was 25%…

Similar Story

Lok Sabha 2024: Party hopping candidates, perplexed voters and a city at risk

Often criticised for their apathy during elections, Mumbaikars face politically unstable and unusual alliances to choose from this elections.

Finally, it is that time again, after five years. Voting for the 18th Lok Sabha is on May 20th for Mumbai and people are watching the high-pitched campaigns by candidates. And many voters — young and old — are perplexed at political developments over the past few months and years.  It is hard to tell when it started, or that it was always there. At one time, defecting to another political party was looked down upon. Political leaders who party-hopped were quizzed by the media, questioned by the people at public meetings and had to work doubly hard to convince…