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Iniquitous CDP, conflicts thereof, and a SDZ (Sustainable Development Zone) plan as a solution

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Urban Development

The Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP) - 95 marked out large areas around the city as "Green Belt" (check here), along which no development was to be allowed. Like-wise, there are the valley and lake catchment areas also marked "green" on the CDP maps, where again no development was to be allowed. But, as the city grew, and the value of the lands adjoining these green areas started rising sky-high, the owners of the green areas began to feel cheated. Neither did their lands have much value, nor were their traditional land use practices (mainly agriculture) remunerative any longer, with costs (particularly labour) having gone up sky-high in the meanwhile. This provided for an ideal hunting ground for land-grabbers, who purchased these lands for low value, and, using their clout and money power, manipulated the government (politicos and bureaucrats) to change the land use, using de-notification, CDP map re-colouring, and such other routes. Thereafter, they tied up with developers to promote huge housing and commercial complexes in these environmentally sensitive zones. A case in point is the "Rs 2347 cr mixed use project/ complex proposed at Agara/ Jakkasandra villages, along the Sarjapur road" (check here). And, there are plenty more of them all across the city.

However, with increasing environmental consciousness over the period, the city Civil Society rose up in arms, and today, we have a situation of near total confrontation, where every kind of development is being questioned, if not blocked, often through court interventions. This apart, buoyed by the Anna/ Arvind Kejriwal movements, backed by the media, various institutions like the LokAyukta, BMTF, CAG, etc have also become very active, leading to many builders (Mantri, DLF, Hiranandani, etc) and even politicos and bureaucrats (including Cabinet ministers and Principal Secretary level officials) being charged under under various sections of the the Prevention of Corruption Act and IPC.

Invariably, the developers are made to look like the villains, though they are essentially meeting the quality housing and other needs of a growing middle-class, and doing a fairly good job of it too. I myself reside in a Mantri apartment, and without hesitation, I'll say that their quality is comparable to the best in the world, and overall, they have given our community a fair deal.

The problem here lies essentially in the iniquitous drawing up of the CDP, and laying down of land use conditions thereof, which then forces the land owners, who get a raw deal in the process, to find various ways of getting around the problem. And, as long as the inequity issue remains unaddressed, the problem will persist. Also, if this key issue is addressed properly, many of the other issues too will get addressed automatically.

The Sustainable Development Zone (SDZ) plan, detailed in the attached document, is proposed as an overall solution. Many eminent personalities in the country, to whom the presentation has been made, have applauded it as the right kind of an approach, though perhaps slightly idealistic to be practical. But, do we have an alternative that can address the key inequity issue? And, the very fact that the same is addressed here, provides it the strength to ensure compliance from all the stake-holders involved, on a sustainable basis.

All of the above apart, this is perhaps the way to harness the strengths of the Mantri's into developing a more inclusive city, where they cater to the needs of the economically weaker sections also.

So, is this the way for Bengaluru's future?

Muralidhar Rao

PS: Jaigopal Rao, the author of the SDZ plan, is my brother. He is arguably the closest disciple of the late Padmasri Laurie Baker, the first eco-friendly architect India has had. Jaigopal Rao, and his wife Latha, practice out of Kochi. Their firm 'Inspiration' 's web-site is I have no financial stake in the firm. The idea behind publishing this is to generate a debate among the stakeholders on the viability of such a development plan for the city. If a city sees merit in it, and decides to pursue it, it may do so engaging local town-planners/ architects.

Sustainable Development Zone (SDZ).pdf855.58 KB


murali772's picture

need for a paradigm shift

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A team of officials from the Bangalore Metropolitan Task Force (BMTF) searched the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) offices on Friday. This was in connection with irregularities in the widening of Begur-Hulimavu road to allegedly benefit a project taken up by realty major DLF.

For the full report in the ToI, click here.

This is quite typical of the current scenario. And, without a new equitous approach, it is inevitable that these kinds of games will continue in some form or the other. And, that's why there has to a paradigm shift in the approach to planning, perhaps as suggested in the opening post.


Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

telling commentary

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Comment by an opinion leader in the SaveKoramangala Y-group:

What is the fair price of land opposite Agara lake on Sarjapur Road ? What was the fair price in 2007 ?

Well, according to the KIADB, it was around Rs. 35 Lakhs per Acre. 63 Acres have been sold on outright conveyance by the KIADB to a leading land developer at a price of Rs. 22 Crores. Most of these 63 Acres have been acquired by the KIADB from farmers at throw away prices under compulsory land acquistion laws.

The price of land today there is approximately Rs 12000 per sq ft. One Acre is approximately 40000 sq ft. A simple calculation results in Rs. 48 Crores as the price of 1 Acre. Rs. 3024 Crores worth of land is sold at Rs. 22 Crores !! The Government loses in a single transaction Rs. 3000 Crores just due to the sale to M.

This is only 80 % of the story. Another parcel of 17 Acres sold to another company at a price of 6 Crores. This company is a front organization of another leading property developer. The loss to the Government here is Rs. 780 Crores.

Total gains to the developers amount to Rs. 3780 Crores just on land sale alone !

Indeed a telling commentary on the existing inequitous scenario.

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