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

Reported by

Soumik DuttaLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

October 12, 2021

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

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

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

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 promised compensation, Delay in compensation, Violation of LARR Act

Legal Status:

In Court

Status of Case In Court

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

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, Lathi charge/tear gas/pellets, Threats/intimidation

Whether criminal law was used against protestors

Official name of the criminal law. Did the case reach trial?

Reported Details of the Violation:

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Complaints, petitions, memorandums to officials , Protests/marches

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Department of Urban Development

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

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?

Name, Designation and Comment of Corporate Authorities Approached

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

Other Parties Involved 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:
No Images Available

Documented By

Soumik Dutta

Reviewed By

Soumik Dutta

Updated By

Soumik Dutta

Edited By

Soumik DuttaLand Conflict Watch
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