BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court on Thursday asked the Bangalore Development Authority not to adopt a piecemeal or case-by-case approach while giving permission for land use change in Bangalore.
“If you do it piecemeal, you’re in trouble,” a division bench headed by Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen observed while refusing to vacate or alter, for the time being, a January 25 interim order.
The court had asked BDA not to allow permission for redevelopment and reconstruction except for residential purposes in Malleswaram, Richmond Town, Vasantnagar, Jayanagar, Vijayanagar, Visveshwarpura, Rajajinagar and RT Nagar, among other localities. This order was issued on a batch of PILs relating to the Revised Master Plan 2015. The matter was adjourned to August 16.
BDA counsel’s plea seeking clarification on the interim order prompted the bench to ask: “Are there uneducated people at BDA? Can’t they understand our order?”
BDA counsel said: “We haven’t touched a single application since the January order… But in areas abutting ring roads, certain permissible usages are there in the master plan itself. We want to consider those applications on a case-by-case basis.”
However, counsel for petitioners, Citizens Action Forum, said such a permission would render the Karnataka Town and Planning Act redundant and complained that Section 14 A of the Act is being indiscriminately used. He also alleged BDA had granted nine such permissions in Malleswaram alone after the interim order.
Citizens Action Forum had claimed that master plan 2015, notified by the BDA on June 25, 2007, is without jurisdiction. “There has been steep reduction in the green belt area from 56% in the 1995 plan to 35% in the present one. In 1995, it was 714 sq km and now it has shrunk by 300 sq km. They have done away with zonal planning by permitting mixed use of land. The increase in floor area ratio (FAR) will increase the density of population and virtually choke the city. This exercise has been done ignoring suggestions of BMRDA as well as BWSSB,” it argued.
Notice to railways on suburban trains
A division bench headed by Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen ordered notice to the Railways and the state government with regard to a PIL seeking suburban rail services in Bangalore. Petitioner Satinderpal Chopra claimed that even though many cities like Mumbai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad have been chosen for such a service, Bangalore has been neglected.
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