Defence Ministry And Karnataka Government At Loggerheads Over ‘Actual Land Swap’ For Civic Projects

Defence Ministry And Karnataka Government At Loggerheads Over ‘Actual Land Swap’ For Civic ProjectsArea near Kumara Park (Amol Gaitonde/Wikipedia)

Karnataka government officials have accused the defence establishment of delaying their work by not parting with land for infrastructure projects in Bengaluru.

The tussle dates back two months ago when eight city projects that were stuck for years were allotted land by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman after an exchange of plots was discussed at a meeting with Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy.

In August, Sitharaman asked defence officials not to wait for the actual swap, and grant necessary clearances so that the work on infrastructure projects could begin.

However, the defence establishment in the city is still supposedly denying the state government permission to start work, and this is snowballing into a war of words between the two as was evident during a meeting wherein the state chief secretary was also present.

“Despite Sitharaman’s nod, defence officials in the city have not allowed us to undertake work. The row has escalated to the government level and the additional secretary of the urban development department, Mahendra Jain, has formally expressed his displeasure,” a municipal official said, as reported by Bangalore Mirror.

A senior defence official said they were waiting for a formal communication from Delhi.

BBMP chief N Manjunath Prasad laments, “We need to start the infrastructure projects as soon as possible to cope with the city’s growth. We have brought the issue to the state government’s notice,” he said.

The BBMP needs 45,165.84 sq mt of defence land, believed to be worth Rs 286 crore, for the eight projects. In return, it is prepared to offer land at Thimmanayakanahalli village, Kumara Park and Kensington Road.