Tedious document verification for Karanth Layout is a pain for villagers

BBMP City Governance Rural Karnataka

They are unable to find papers for their homes

Bengaluru: A tedious document-verification procedure for houses built on notified land for the construction of Dr. Shivaram Karanth Layout before August 2018 is proving to be a hassle for citizens.

“We built our house in 2019. Now we do not have all the documents and are stranded,” said Sita Shetty, a resident of Medi Agrahara village who has to get her land documents verified.

The Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) had, in 2008, issued a notification under Section 17 of the Bangalore Development Authority Act to build Dr. Shivaram Karanth Layout. The notification was challenged in the Karnataka High Court, which ruled against the BDA. Subsequently, the BDA challenged the High Court’s decision in the Supreme Court. The SC, in 2018, ruled in favour of the BDA and asked it to proceed with land acquisition.

However, the court also ruled that all buildings that had been built on the notified land between 2008 and 2018 with valid permission from the competent authority would be saved from demolition. 

The process of online verification began on March 1 under the guidance of the five-member Justice Chandrashekhar Committee set up by the SC. 

The residents of the villages are either unaware of the situation or are finding it difficult to obtain legal documents for their houses.

“We asked for the certificate from the village panchayat but they are not helping. I’ve spent all my savings on this house and the BDA says they’ll demolish our house. I am having sleepless nights,” said Shetty.

“I had built a house in 2012 and got an electricity connection from Bescom. Now they’re asking for a new connection number stating that the existing one is invalid. I do not know what to do now,” said Vinay Prasad from Vaderhalli.

Another resident of Medi Agrahara, Lata Sridhar, informed The Observer: “I bought this land from someone in 2013. He did not inform me about the Supreme Court case. I built a house in 2015, but now I am unable to get the approval of the panchayat.”

“They are asking for 17 different documents, while we have only 7 or 8,” added Sridhar.

The list of documents demanded includes ownership deed, tax receipts, address proof, electricity connection number, water connection number and other documents. 

The committee has also set up a help centre in Medi Agrahara for offline document verification. A group of students from the CMR University of Legal Studies have been appointed to run this centre. “We will collect all the documents from the people who cannot afford internet at their homes and hand it over to the SC. The SC will then check the legality of all the houses and pass the judgement,” said Om Prakash, a law student working at the help centre. 

The BDA estimates that there are 8,000 structures spread across 17 villages that have been built between 2008 and 2018 which needs to be examined. 

“The acquisition of land is still going on. We have tied up with Karnataka State Remote Sensing Applications Centre (KSRSAC) to get drone surveillance of the layout. We will not take any action on the houses till the SC judgement,” said P. Shivaraju, Deputy Commissioner, Land Acquisition, BDA.

About the long list of documents required for verification, the Deputy Commissioner, Land Acquisition, BDA, P. Shivaraju said: “This has been set by the Supreme Court. So we cannot interfere.”

A majority of villagers who have incomplete knowledge of the matter have demanded a clear, transparent process of verification, and help from the authorities, to ensure that they are not displaced from their homes. 

abhishek.s@iijnm.org

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