Think big and do it big. That seems to be the Karnataka government’s mantra. Never mind the numerous issues plaguing already developed residential layouts. It has now proposed the biggest township project in the state, with around 30,000 sites, which is expected to be ready in two years’ time.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to lay the foundation stone for the project, proposed on nearly 2,000 acres at Jigani, around 30 km from Bengaluru, in March at a virtual event. While the two-year target to complete the project looks too ambitious, Housing Minister V Somanna sounded confident when he said that the land acquisition process has almost been completed.
The Housing Department is all set to call for tenders next month for developing roads, underground drainage, water connections, streetlights, and other amenities. Around 100 acres will be reserved for schools, parks, markets, places of worship, and other amenities. Sites of 20x30 ft, 30x40 ft, and 40x60 sqft dimensions will come up at the Karnataka Housing Board (KHB) Township.
According to minister Somanna, this project was initiated in 2012, and notification was issued for 1,940 acres. But, in the last nine years, previous governments did not evince interest in taking the project forward. There were some legal hurdles too, which have been resolved, except a few cases where a few farmers have approached courts, he said.
“Without touching their land till the issues are resolved, we will start the process. We will give a few sites to the land losers once the township is developed,’’ he said. Of the 1,940 acres, the Detailed Project Report is ready for developing 840 acres. Project to be completed in next two years.
“We are hoping to complete entire project in the next two years. We are planning to get the PM to launch (virtually) the project. Along with Union Minister Pralhad Joshi, I will be visiting Delhi after the Assembly session next week to invite the PM,’’ he said. A senior official in the Housing Department said that last year, they had called applications for a demand survey and the KHB had received 17,000 applications.
“It may not be that all 17,000 are eligible and will be allotted sites. Also, we will have around 30,000 sites. The initial cost we have estimated is Rs 1,700 per sqft. But at the time of completion of the project, the cost may vary depending on land acquisition cost at that time,’’ the official explained.
“We have to set aside 5 percent of the total land for civic amenities and 15 percent for the economically weaker sections. The poor will be allotted 20x30 sqft sites at half the price,’’ the official said. It may be noted that many people who were allotted sites at BDA’s Kempegowda Layout and Shivaram Karanth Layout are yet to get possession.