Residents of the Kodiyala Karenahalli village in Karnataka have been protesting to save over 40 acres of land in the village from the corporate. The land has been earmarked to be used as a landfill, which is expected to have severe impact on its residents.
Apart from the adverse effects on the health of villagers and its cattle, the plant would be detrimental to around 400 acres of grassland and agricultural land in the village. The protesters have alleged that the civic body has been supporting the project to benefit corporate interests, using Transferable Development Rights (TDRs) as a tool for land acquisition.
Speaking to NewsClick, Leo Saldanha of the Environment Support Group, based in Bangalore, said, “The use of TDRs to acquire land from the villagers, is absolutely preposterous, and it needs to be viewed as an attempt to misuse the principle. It even goes against the directions of the Karnataka High Court to ensure that no more landfills were created.”
He added that the move is likely to cause a “environmental havoc” for the villagers, and condemned the actions of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).
TDRs entail transferring the right to develop a land to a government, a local authority or a corporation. When an owner of the land transfers his/her right, the same land can be used for infrastructure projects such as road widening, metro rail projects, park, gardens, schools etc. DRC (Development Rights Certificate) has to be issued to the owner of the land in this case. The main purpose of the whole process is to acquire the required amount of land in hassle-free manner for development projects. Method of calculating TDR may vary, but generally, it is 1.5 times more than the land area surrendered. Many activists believe that the state is using this method to make the process of land acquisition simpler by compromising the rights of the working classes and the villagers.
With land required for building new roads, widening of existing ones, and other infrastructure and transportation projects, TDR is an effective tool to minimise costs and reduce the time-consuming acquisition process. Offered by the government to land owners in exchange for properties provided for public projects, TDR provides additional built-up area allowing the owners to execute constructions in addition to the prevailing floor space index in lieu of the area relinquished by them to the government. Further, TDR certificate holders can also transfer it to another person.
Saldanha added, “In the case of these villagers, it is being blatantly misused.”
In the weeks to come, the villagers are set to intensify protests by reaching out to different authorities and activists. Previously, in 2013, following protests over the move, the BBMP had cancelled the acquisition of 40 acres of land outside its limits at Kodiyala Karenahalli off Ramanagara.
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