Revenue Sites and Houses in bangalore Bangaloreans, particularly the poorer ones, will benefit the most by Wednesday's cabinet decisions. With the Lok Sabha
elections in mind, the government
announced a bonanza for slum dwellers and illegal building owners. Following the implementation of the Delimitation Commission report, Bangalore now has four Lok Sabha seats.

Sale deeds: The cabinet decided to issue sale deeds to around 12,000 families in various slums. All they have to do is pay Rs 200 per sq metre and they can own the land on which they live. The previous government gave only the title deed but decided to issue sale deed only if they paid Rs 1,050 per sq m. "Slum dwellers who have completed a lease period for over 10 years will be eligible for applying for the sale deed,'' said primary and secondary education minister Visvesvara Hedge Kageri.

Regularization of buildings: Unauthorized buildings on revenue land in Bangalore will be regularized. While the cabinet last month decided to regularize buildings only in BBMP limits, Wednesday's decision extended it to even unauthorized buildings under planning authority area, municipal corporations and city municipal councils.

Only those buildings whose plans sanctioned by December 31, 2008 by local authorities will be eligible. Nearly 5 lakh unauthorized buildings could be regularized under this scheme.

The government banned registration of revenue sites in April 2005. It was done to regulate the city's growth and help people secure title deed for their property and assure them basic amenities, as earmarked by the town planning authorities. Due to widespread pressure, the BJP government constituted a cabinet sub-committee headed by revenue minister G Karunakara Reddy to look into the issue. Now, with the ban revoked, site owners need to pay conversion fee and penalty to be legal owners.

Kasturirangan report: The cabinet decided to constitute a sub-committee to study and implement recommendations by an expert committee constituted on Greater Bangalore headed by former space scientist and MP K Kasturirangan.

A major recommendation is to have a non-bureaucrat commissioner to head BBMP. The report highlighted that government should constitute a high-power search committee to appoint this commissioner in consultation with the mayor for a fixed term of three years.

The Kasturirangan report talks of bringing radical changes in administration -- setting up of an umbrella agency, the Metropolitan Planning Committee (MPC) which includes 8,000 sq km of area covered by BMRDA. Another major recommendation is that the mayor, elected directly by the people, should have a 5-year tenure.

Key recommendations:
  • Water supply: BWSSB's jurisdiction be enlarged to cover the metropolitan region. A special purpose vehicle be established under joint ownership of BWSSB and BBMP to manage retail distribution of water supply in BBMP area.
  • Transport: Newly created Bangalore Metropolitan Land Transport Authority be strengthened by giving it a statutory basis. The BMTC's jurisdiction should be extended to cover the BMR.
  • Legislative sanction for creation of MPC should be brought in the BMRDA Act, which should be renamed as Bangalore Metropolitan Area Planning Act .
Source: The Times of India, 19th February, 2009