Less complaints, confusion over power to take action: BMTF limps on

BMTF still exists and is still working. But there are less complaints made to BMTF than before. What is wrong?

The fate of the 140 cases of building violation registered in 2012 with Bangalore Metropolitan Task Force (BMTF) is hanging in balance, awaiting the Supreme Court’s final order.

In a press conference held on May 5, 2014 at BBMP head office, BMTF Chief Additional General of Police Rajvir P Sharma told press persons that out of 208 cases registered in 2012, 140 cases of building violations in private properties were put on hold on account of High Court’s order on October 2013 that said the BMTF has no jurisdiction on illegal construction on private properties. HC stated that BMTF can only prosecute the offenders who cause loss to public exchequer.

Rajvir Sharma said that the State government has already approached the Supreme Court in this regard, and BMTF is waiting for the final order.

Waiting for the election code of conduct to end

In this year’s first quarter, between January and March 2014, BMTF received 168 complaints out of which 23 cases were of encroachment of government land and 16 public servants were involved. Most of them were Revenue officers who failed to take action against encroachment. “We couldn’t take action against them because of election code of conduct,” said Rajvir Sharma.

He explained that the Revenue officers have been deputed to various places for election work. Time has been granted to the officials on account of election code of conduct. He added, “There are legal provisions to take action but it can’t be applied during election time. If they don’t give report even after the code of conduct is over, then some coercive action can be taken.”

No help available to BMTF to translate Kannada

Similar delay was noticed in the most controversial encroachment case in Miller bund and Sampangiramnagar. Referring to Miller bund’s case, Rajvir said that it is a Kharab land which was sold to many people. He said, “We have asked the BBMP Joint Commissioner of North to report who is the real owner of the land. They have shown their inability in doing it so far on account of elections.”

In the case of grave yard in Sampangirama Nagar ward, Sub-Inspector Suma Rani said that the BMTF has issued several notices to complainant Councillor M Gopi and BBMP Commissioner to provide them with proofs that the land belongs to BBMP. Neither of them has provided any proofs in writing or documents.

She said that the documents that BMTF has date back to 1941. The documents are scripted in old Kannada which the translation department cannot translate. “We were asked to take help of private translator,” she said.

No complaints from Revenue officials

However, all the complaints received till date have been lodged by private parties, said Rajvir. “No complaints have been lodged by Revenue officials.”

Many of these multiple complaints have been filed by the same people against the same officials, which led to the respondents filing cases of harassment by the complainants.

Rajvir said, “We cannot stop this nor can we be selective in choosing the complaints. No law can stop people from lodging multiple complaints.”

22 cases of lake encroachment have been lodged with BMTF, stated Rajvir. High Court has ordered a stay on 11 cases, while others are still under investigation.

Rajvir said that authorities have failed to provide them with the encroachment report bearing details like boundaries of lake. “Unless the boundaries of the lake are decided any action will look like arbitration,” he added.

Number of complaints dropped

As compared to 2013, this year the number of complaints have seen a considerable drop said Rajvir. The reports given by BMTF in the press conference showed that in the first quarter of  2013, 538 complaints were registered, while for the first quarter of this year, it is only 168.

BMTF believes that the reason for this drastic drop may be the confusion in people’s mind over its existence.

In 2012, 208 complaints were registered, out of which investigation has been done on 140 cases. Encroachment on 28,397.05 sq ft of public land worth Rs. 67.25 crore was cleared, while 96 cases have got HC stay.

Likewise in 2013, 1199 complaints were received out of which 135 cases were taken up. Land measuring 1,19, 517 sq ft was cleared. It was worth Rs. 80,69, 00,000. HC has brought stay on 38 cases.

In this year’s first quarter, 168 complaints were registered, out of which 23 cases were registered and 4 cases got stay order from HC.

Year

Complaints registered

Cases registered

Under investigation

HC stay

Chargesheet submitted

Encroachment cleared in sq ft

Value of encroached land cleared

2012

208

140

141

96

64

28, 397.05

67,25,35,000

2013

1199

135

124

48

9

1,19,517

80,69, 00,000

2014 Jan till May

168

23

21

4

1

11,212

8,08,00,000

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Comments:

  1. mokshithgopal says:

    sir i have given a complaint on my plot on 2012 steel today they are telling that it is in court after the court dissied we will take Acton but we are having court decree order on 2003 and in high court also is in ower fever and agean he had gone for court with fake record and not attending the court but this bbmp ro, aro, and engineer are not seeing any document and place plese help me

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