BDA’s move to sell CA sites opposed
Social activists and citizens groups have vehemently opposed the Bangalore Development Authority’s (BDA) decision of selling over 1,400 civic amenity (CA) sites currently leased to private and government bodies in and around the city.
Based on State government’s order, BDA has already initiated the process by accepting application from lessees interested in buying the property. Activists urged the government to effectively manage and monitor its asset to generate funds and not sell them.
B.M. Shivakumar, president, Jayaprakash Narayan Vichara Vedike and an RTI activist, said that selling of CA sites would lead to “unconditional third party interests.” “I do not think that the BDA has made an assessment of the implication of selling CA sites to the lessees. Hundreds of sites are at prime locations in the city and why would the Government want to sell them to private parties. Had the BDA maintained all its properties well, it would have been one of the richest government agencies. What will the BDA have if they sell everything they have?” he asked, adding that there were many occupants of CA sites who had not paid the lease amount amounting to crores to the government.
He also added that such measures would benefit only a handful of people with money and muscle power who will manage to get the CA sites for a much lesser price.
K. Ramesh, a property consultant and president of Bengaluru South Citizens’ Forum, said that by foregoing such valuable property, the BDA and the State government would lose their net worth. “They are setting a very bad precedence by selling everything in the name of fund generation. Finally, the government will not be able to raise loans as it will have only a few assets leading to increase in liability and almost no assets,” he said.
An activist who did not want to be named said that it was the responsibility of the Government to provide civic amenities and by selling CA sites, they were depriving the public of their fundamental rights. “Instead, such CA sites can be used for government hospitals, fire stations or other important issue. Hundreds of government offices are paying lakhs of office rent. When such is the case, why should the government sell its CA sites,” the activist questioned.
The Karnataka High Court recently restrained BDA from auctioning intermediary sites that was being done to generate funds.