TNN Apr 2, 2012, 03.46AM IST . . Sunitha Rao R & Shilpa Phadnis
BANGALORE: The urban layout watchdog doesn’t match up to the job: the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) has identified only 127 illegal layouts, while its officials admit that the number of unauthorized localities in Greater Bangalore is well over 1,000. BDA townplanner Thirukana Goudar said rampant violations have taken place, especially on the city outskirts.
Illegal layouts are both the cause and effect of a deeper crisis afflicting urban governance: they expose the agencies’ inability to address the city’s housing needs, and become a strain on the meagre resources, besides leaving a big hole in the civic coffers. With only five townplanners to cater to a population of 84 lakh, the BDA is clueless about the ground realities.
A majority of the identified 127 illegal layouts have sprung up in Uttarahalli, Begur, Kammanahalli and Kengeri in the South, Varthur, Rachenahalli and Thanisandra in the East, and in Yelahanka in the North. Some of these layouts have been around for two decades. Identifying them has opened up another front for the resource-strapped agency as its notices have mired it in labyrinthine legal proceedings.
“In some cases, the housing co-operative societies have applied for approval after we’ve sent out notices. When BDA asked the layout owners to pay cess and betterment charge, they moved court,” Goudar explained.
The nodal agency has not launched any investigation to determine the exact extent of violations despite having survey numbers in its possession.
Shockingly, BDA records say three of the 127 illegal layouts – Sun City Layout in KR Puram hobli, two layouts in B Narayanapura in Varthur Hobli and Naganahalli in Bangalore East -have “not been traced on the ground”.
BDA commissioner Bharat Lal Meena didn’t respond to TOI’s calls.