More land acquired for B’lore airport: Study

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StudyBangalore, Aug 12;The extent of land allotted for Bengaluru International Airport went on increasing between 1989 and 2009 without any explanation to the Cabinet till today, according to Kalpana Gopalan, Principal Secretary and Managing Director, Karnataka State Handicrafts Development Corporation Limited (KSHDC).

“The extent of land went on increasing but the reason for this increase was never explained to the Cabinet. A technical committee had recommended 2,500 acres which then became 3,500 acres in 2004 and then finally 4,276 acres out of which around 4,009 acres was finally given to BIA,” said Kalpana, a senior IAS officer. She was presenting her research paper at the eighth annual International Conference on Public Policy and Management at the Indian Institute of Management, here on Monday.

According to her research, out of the land allotted to the airport, 400 acres belonged to government, 2,593 acres was private land and the rest were forest land and gramatana sites.

Terming the constant escalation and change in stance “slow somersault” in the decision making process, Kalpana said it was a result of “ poor planning” and “lack of a proper roadmap.”

“Land was constantly added and deleted. KSIIDC, the nodal agency for the project did not involve itself in acquisition and was mostly disconnected,” she said. Titled, “Pain without gain? Land assembly and acquisition for infrastructure mega projects: The Indian experience with the BIA,” the research also showed that the increase in the extent of the land led to an extensive rise in the contribution from the state.
The study is based on Cabinet proposals, journalistic articles and direct field information obtained by visiting various villages and, aimed at looking at the practical implementation of public private partnership projects.

Corroborating her findings with photographs, Kalpana claimed that large stretches of the land acquired were devoid of any activity. The study said  12 villages and 1,544 land owners were affected by the acquisition. Quoting a media report, a comparison was also made with Heathrow Airport, London, which has 35 percent less land than that of BIA but has six-times more capacity.

D K Chaturvedi, member, Planning Commission, in his keynote address, spoke about the lack of growth in various sectors such as power and roads. This challenge according to him, could be sorted out by fixing the “softer aspects of infrastructure” such as environmental concerns, streamlining processes to improve implementation through automatic and mechanical delivery systems that could be accounted for.

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