Bangalore developer sells buffer zone plot to IIM director
A NEWS REPORT ON 29-05-2014
When Gautam Sinha, director, IIM (Kashipur) in Uttarakand, put down a substantial amount of his life savings in a plot in Bangalore South, he wasn’t playing the realty stakes. For the academician in his fifties, the Vakil Townscape layout plot in Jigani was where he wanted to lead his retired life.
Sinha chose Bangalore, which he believes has a vibrant education scene, in 2010. But four years on, his dream home is just a castle in the air. Sinha claims he was sold a plot – with three sides open and which cost a premium — in the buffer zone, with stone crushing units just a wall away. After running from pillar to post, he has now approached the Karnataka Lokayukta to intervene in the matter.
Sinha, who is in Bangalore, said he bought the plot, VT 325, measuring around 1700 sqft, for Rs 18 lakh in February 2010. He was happy with his buy as the plot had three sides open and was located on the periphery of the layout. When he visited the site last October, he discovered a number of stone cutting and polishing factories had mushroomed adjacent to the plot, just across the boundary wall.
“These industries create a high risk of dust and pollution, and will leave my plot uninhabitable,” he said.
When Sinha, with the help of his daughter and son-in-law, who are residents of Bangalore, lodged a complaint with the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), a temporary wall was raised to reduce the dust entering the layout. However, when Sinha dug deeper in to the matter, he found the developer had violated conditions laid down in its ‘consent for establishment’ (CFE) provided by the KSPCB.
In his complaint filed before Upa Lokayukta Justice Subhash B Adi (a copy of which is available with TOI), Sinha says the developer has not provided for a wooded buffer zone along the periphery of the layout. “Since the area adjacent to the layout is an industrial one, the developer should have taken up afforestation in the buffer zone. In fact, plot VT 325 could not have been sold, since its edge touches the boundary wall. This was further compounded by the fact that I had to pay a premium for having three sides open,” he added.
Dr Sinha said he is fighting the battle alone, as not many plot owners in the layout have started construction.
FOLLOWED ALL NORMS, SAYS VAKIL
A Vakil Housing Development Corporation spokesperson said they had followed all norms laid down by the KSPCB and Bangalore Metropolitan Region Development Authority, in forming the layout. “The plot owner bought the property after a physical inspection. Some stone crushing units came up after the layout was formed. Some of them have stopped working round the clock and work only during the day, as complaints were filed with the KSPCB. We are for the welfare of the residents and are fighting the KSPCB to resolve other problems,” he added.
Questioned about the buffer zone, the spokesperson said the zone should have been created by those maintaining the industrial zone adjacent to the layout. “Many stone cutting units in the zone are illegal. Though we are out of the project as the layout has been handed over to the association, we continue to stand for the welfare of the buyers,” he added.