Karnataka's BMIC Project Stuck for 20 Years, Farmers Demand Return of Land

Reported by

Soumik Dutta

Published on

June 3, 2020

June 3, 2020

Updated on

June 3, 2020

Location of Conflict

Thippur

Gonipura, Bidadi, Seegehalli

Mandya

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Other Kind of Infrastructure

Building of roads and satellite townships

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

5357

ha

Starting Year

1998

State

Karnataka

Sector

Infrastructure

In 1995, the Janata Dalled government approved the construction of an expressway to connect Mysuru and Bengaluru, along with the development of a peripheral link road and satellite townships. The entire project was called the BangaloreMysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) Project. An MoU was signed with a consortium headed by Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises (NICE) Limited. A Frame Work Agreement (FWA) to implement the project was signed between NICE and the state government on April 3, 1997. According to the FWA, a total of 20,193 acres of land were to be handed over to NICE, wherein 6,999 acres were required for a toll road and 13,194 acres for townships. Of the 20,193 acres, 6,956 acres were government land and 13,237 acres were private land.
On October 14, 1998, an agreement was signed between NICE and the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB) for acquiring land. The same year, KIADB issued notices to farmers for the acquisition of land. However, NICE has till date acquired only 7,000 acres. While the delay in land acquisition can be attributed to protests over what farmers deem unfair compensation for their fertile lands, a large part of the process is embroiled in politics. According to a news report, Janata Dal (Secular) leader H.D. Deve Gowda, who had approved the BMIC Project when he was the chief minister, is now opposing the same project. He has alleged that the present Karnataka government, led by Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is acquiring more land than is necessary for the project. However, a news report states that the JD(S) government itself had been accused of allotting more land than necessary for BMIC when it had signed the project framework. Such charges and countercharges have left the project as well as the fate of the farmers in a limbo. As of March 2019, only a fourkilometre stretch of the expressway, 41 kilometres of the peripheral road and 8.5 kilometres of the link road had been constructed by NICE. There were inordinate delays in the execution and completion of the project following numerous litigations filed by several farmers, alleging corruption and illegalities in the acquisition process. Meanwhile, the KIADB has till date not withdrawn its notice of land acquisition, leaving the farmers in a state of uncertainty about the status of their lands. In the course of over 20 years, land prices around Bengaluru and Mysuru have also skyrocketed. A report quotes a senior NICE official as saying that farmers were paid about INR 7.5 lakh per acre for land around Mysuru at the start of the decade. The current land price in the area is INR 5070 lakh per acre, says a property consultant. Farmers estimate the rate to be even higher. "The government is offering just INR 85,000 per acre against the market rate of more than INR 2 crore. This is an insult to us," a farmer told a news daily during a protest. The farmers have demanded denotification of land that was not acquired and fair compensation, based on market price, for notified land that will be acquired. Successive governments have failed to either expedite the project completion or take legal action against the company or cancel the MoU. The House Committee of the state legislature submitted a report claiming massive corruption and recommended scrapping of the MoU, along with denotifying the lands and returning them to the farmers. This report is not available in the public domain as yet. Other reports, such as the Environment Impact Assessment and Social Impact Assessment, pertaining to the project are all classified.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for promised compensation

Refusal to give up land for the project

Demand for more compensation than promised

Demand for compensation

Complaint against procedural violations

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Both

Type of Common Land

Non-Forest (Other than Grazing Land)

Total investment involved (in Crores):

12000

Type of investment:

Cost of Project

Year of Estimation

Page Number In Investment Document:

Has the Conflict Ended?

No

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Land Acquisition Laws, Constitutional Law, Other

Legislations/Policies Involved

Land Acquisition Act, 1894
Section 4 [Publication of preliminary notification]; Section 5A [Hearing of objections to the notification]; Section 6 [Declaration that land is required for a public purpose]; Section 9 [Notice to persons interested]; Section 11 [Enquiry and award by Collector]; Section 11A [Collector shall make an award within a period of two years from the date of the publication of the declaration]; Section 15 read with Sections 23 and 24 [Matters to be considered and neglected in determining the amount of compensation]; Section 31 [On making an award under Section 11, the Collector shall tender payment of the compensation awarded by him to the persons interested entitled thereto according to the award]; Section 48 [The government shall be at liberty to withdraw from the acquisition of any land of which possession has not been taken but the Collector shall determine the amount of compensation due for the damage suffered by the owner in consequence of the notice or of any proceedings there under, and shall pay such amount to the person interested, together with all costs reasonably incurred by him in the prosecution of the proceedings.]
Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013
Section 24(2) [In case of land acquisition proceedings initiated under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, where an award under the said Section 11 has been made five years or more prior to the commencement of this Act but the compensation has not been paid, the said proceedings shall be deemed to have lapsed]
Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Act, 1966
Chapter VII Acquisition and Disposal of Land – Section 28 [Acquisition of land - If at any time any land is required for the purpose of development by the Board, the state may, by notification, give notice of its intention to acquire such land]; Section 29(2) [Where the amount of compensation has been determined by agreement between the state and the person to be compensated, it shall be paid in accordance with such agreement]; Section 30 [The provisions of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, shall mutatis mutandis apply in respect of the enquiry and award by the deputy commissioner, the reference to court, the apportionment and payment of compensation, in respect of lands acquired under this Chapter]
Constitution of India, 1950
Article 300A [No person shall be deprived of his property save by authority of law]
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    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute

What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community? What was the decision of the concerned government department?

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Controversial land acquisition by the government

Incorrect estimation of compensation

Forced evictions/dispossession of land

Non-payment of compensation/promised compensation

Delay in compensation

Non-implementation/violation of LARR Act

Legal Status:

In Court

Status of Case In Court

Disposed

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

What was the Decision of the Concerned Government Department?

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Supreme Court of India

Case Number

CA No. 3492-94 of 2005 and CA No. 1215 of 2011

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Displacement

Whether criminal law was used against protestors

Reported Details of the Violation:

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Complaints/petitions/letters/memorandums to officials

Protests/marches

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Department of Urban Development

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

Principal Secretary A. Parvez refused to comment on the issue when contacted by LCW. He said the House Committee had submitted a report and the new BJP government was looking into the matter.

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Principal Secretary A. Parvez refused to comment on the issue when contacted by LCW. He said the House Committee had submitted a report and the new BJP government was looking into the matter.

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises Limited

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

LCW contacted NICE Managing Director Ashok Keney, who refused to comment citing confidentiality of the matter.

Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict:

Environment Support Group, Janata Dal (Secular), Bharatiya Janata Party

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:

Image Credit:  

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Documented By

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Reviewed By

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Updated By

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Edited By

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