Hard rock turns ‘pasture land’ in Hanumagiri

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The possibility of farming atop a hillock (a single hard granite rock) is as remote as snowfall in Bangalore. But that is very conceivable in the scheme of things of the Bangalore Urban district officials.
The officials ‘proved’ that it was agricultural land, auctioned it and later converted the land use to residential. The Tatas are coming up with an apartment called Tata Promont on the very hill and the project is almost halfway through.

Hanumagiri Betta at Hosakerehalli near Ittamadu in Bangalore South stands testimony to the blatant violations of regulations by the government machinery. The hill, on Survey Number 7 of Hosakerehalli village, is shown in village maps and other government records as a single rock hill spread over 84 acres. It was shown as a park in green belt in the Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP)-1985 and CDP-1995.

Said former Mayor P R Ramesh, “It’s a B-kharab land, which should be retained as it is. Forest, lakes, hills, natural canals or stormwater drains fall under the B-Kharab category and they cannot be sold or auctioned under any circumstances. If the CDP said that it’s a park falling in Green Zone, it cannot be used for any other purpose,” says Ramesh.
But much to the shock and dismay of many, the revenue records were allegedly tampered with, to show 23 acres and 10 guntas of the rock hill as pasture land (gomala) on October 31, 2006, when the BJP-JD(S) coalition government was in office. The intentions behind converting the single hard rock granite hill came to the fore when it was auctioned by the government on November 17, 2006, and C Ramaiah Reddy bought it at Rs 18 crore.

To make the auction easy, the land was shown as six km away from the municipal corporation limits, although it was hardly a few metres away from the municipal limits.

Documents accessed by Deccan Herald show that 23 acres and 10 guntas of land was registered in favour of Ramaiah on the morning of June 1, 2007, and the same evening, he sold 14 acres and 10 guntas to M Ravinder for Rs 25 crore. As the CDP showed the land in Green Zone, no construction activity would have taken place there. To clear the hurdles, the government came out with a CDP-2007 on June 25, 2006, bringing Hanumagiri Hill in Yellow Zone. This meant that the land was fit for construction activity. Two years later, Ravinder applied for the conversion of land use pattern.

Charges of forgery

On January 27, 2009, the ‘controversial’ special deputy commissioner H Ramanjaneya converted the land use from ‘agriculture’ to ‘non-agriculture.’ Ramanjaneya was raided by the Lokayukta police and arrested on charges of forgery and cheating in another case.

After the change of land use, Ravinder sold the land on June 23, 2010 to the Tata Housing Development Company Limited for Rs 43 crore. Later, khata was issued and building plan sanctioned. The Bangalore Development Authority, Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board, Karnataka State Pollution Control Board, Director General of Police (Fire and Emergency Services) and the Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom) gave the no objection certificate for the apartment project.

The impact of the entire deal is that it has ruined the Hosakerehalli Lake right below Hanumagiri Hill. Water flowed from the hill into the lake through the feeder canals. But due to the flouting of norms, the lake is in danger.

To tamper with the documents further, a new Survey Number-168 was given to the 23 acre and 10 guntas of Hanumagiri Hill, but was later cancelled for unknown reasons in 2010.

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