It was disquieting to read the above news item in Deccan Herald.
Citizens and experts are joined on this view that this should not have been allowed, given its heritage and city value. This historic site includes ancient monuments, a waterbody and a rock formation covering 20 acres.
Here are some points
The byelaws prevent any building on lake buffers. There are specific requirements for preserving the buffers as green and open areas. Allowed uses are very specific.
The ancient rock is of heritage value and must be preserved.
The lake must be cleaned up and must be rejuvenated.
Citizens oppose the decision and their opposition cannot be ignored.
In addition, the lake buffers are of historic value as they were former “thopus”.
Lakes, lake buffers, ancient rocks are public properties and must be classified accordingly.
Leasing of public properties is generally strictly prohibited
Public land has to be used for public purposes
Based on the above , the allotment of this land must be stopped immediately. We request that the BDA start the process of retrieving this Gomala land and also ensure that the precious GTS pointers and heritage units are carefully protected.
(inputs from city planners and architects)
Deccan Herald article excerpts :
About 2.75 acres of land in northern Bengaluru that holds historical, scientific and geological significance has been secretly leased to an educational trust for 30 years by the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA).
Part of Survey Number 37, the 11,128-square metre (2.75-acre) property is located in Sampigehalli near Jakkur next to Arkavathi Layout.
Worth at least Rs 100 crore, it has ancient monuments, a waterbody and a rock formation, which conservationists and local residents say can be redeveloped as a tourist spot.
The BDA issued the ‘Civic Amenity Site Possession Certificate’ to Siddeswara Education Trust for the purpose of ‘education’ as recently as May 27 this year. The lease agreement formalities have been completed.
The rock formation is so large that it covers survey numbers 37 and 87, which total nearly 20 acres. The 2014 Records of Rights, Tenancy and Crops (RTC) show the property as a gomala land.
What is also of interest is that the tower of the Great Trigonometric Survey (GTS), one of the most significant scientific endeavours ever undertaken in the world, is located right in the middle of survey number 37.
The tower was used as the centre point for the survey that was started by Lt Col Lambton in 1800 and lasted 137 years. Bengaluru’s GTS points, which also include Hennur-Bagalur and Mehkri Circle, had played a critical role in the mapping of India and determining its shape.
Chokkanahalli Sampigehalli Development Forum, a collective of local residents and historians, fear the BDA’s agreement with different agencies will pose a threat to the ancient monuments and the rock formation.
Some residents had to rush back from their office on Tuesday after earthmovers arrived at the spot to level the property.
Venkateshwara Lake, which adjoins the GTS Tower, has been left to die as it comes under five different survey numbers. Much of the lake has been filled with solid waste, construction debris and sand. The entire place is strewn with litter.
Area residents want the BDA to immediately fence the area to stop encroachments. “The property has an ancient monument and needs to be protected. The BDA could develop it as a scientific tourist spot as it can attract tourists from across the globe. The GTS Tower is also a pride of Bengalureans,” said a resident on the condition of anonymity.
BDA Chairman S R Vishwanath said he would review the allotment at a meeting on Wednesday. “The bande (rock) cannot be given to any institution on lease. It has to be used for public purposes. However, the site was allotted long ago. There is a possibility to stop the allotment by providing alternative land. We will consider that,” he said.