BDA complex redevelopment plan back on the cards?
An old and controversial proposal to redevelop six Bangalore Development Authority complexes through joint ventures with private players is likely to be revived. When the proposal was first mooted in 2017, it received widespread opposition from various quarters, including the BJP.
Senior BDA officials, who spoke to The Hindu, said the complexes in H.S.R. Layout, R.T. Nagar, Sadashivanagar, Indiranagar, Vijayanagar, and Austin Town had been proposed to be redeveloped and tenders for the same were floated in 2017. It was finalised sometime in 2018, with the joint venture project to be executed by Maverick Holdings and Embassy Group. Following opposition, it was put on the back burner.
The officials said that last week, a meeting was held with the bidders who had bagged the tender. The meeting was primarily called to discuss the revenue-sharing model and lease conditions. Earlier, an official explained, the revenue sharing model was 30:70, which would obviously cause a huge loss to the BDA.
In September 2019, Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa directed the project to be put on hold in view of widespread criticism and opposition to the revised revenue sharing model of 65:35 and the lease for 60 years (30 years initially and an additional lease period of 30 years).
“While we have communicated to the bidders that the revenue model and lease period will have to be revised, no other decision has been taken,” a senior BDA official said. He added that there is also a possibility that the tender would be cancelled.
BDA chairperson and Yelahanka MLA S.R. Vishwanath reiterated that no decision had yet been taken. “We only met with the bidders to discuss some issues,” he said.
Meanwhile, sources questioned whether the BDA would be able to take up such a massive project. “All the funds raised from the auction of corner sites is going towards loan repayment and paying compensation to the farmers. The authority does not have the resources to take up such a project,” they pointed out.
Civic groups and activists are up in arms over these plans. Joining the chorus, interestingly, is BJP MLA Satish Reddy. He said the land value of these complexes was more than ₹25,000 per sqft, with each complex worth being at least ₹500 crore. “The land belongs to the BDA. Where is the logic in entering into a joint venture agreement, demolishing the existing buildings and earning only partial revenue? This is clearly benefiting only the private parties,” he said and added that he would be writing to Mr. Yediyurappa and the BDA Commissioner in this regard.
Sneha Nandihal from the B.M. Kaval Residents’ Welfare Association, who had earlier also opposed the redevelopment project, said it was against the premise of why these complexes were constructed by the BDA. “We will petition against the project,” she said.