February 19, 2015
Dear Shri Siddaramaiah
I write to you with reference to the notification of the re-modified scheme of the Arkavathi Layout.
While there have been many allegations and counter allegations made on this issue, I wish to draw your attention to some basic realities that you must as Chief Minister address urgently.
Allocation of Land, Dealing with Land, its use and the rampant misuse of administrative and political discretion on these and zoning are becoming the real sources of corruption in Government/Politics and in turn funding of political parties and activities. There is much evidence of the influence of real estate and land deals in our politics and I am sure you are aware of this.
It is in this connection and with an earnest plea to tackle this that I write this letter to you, especially since you had campaigned during the elections on a plank of "Good Governance".
The process of Notifying and de-notifying are now become sources of Corruption. The corruption associated with the notification and de-notification of land has almost settled into an all too familiar pattern. The Government puts in great amount of efforts and people’s money on land and develops it for public usage. This leads to a natural increase in land prices in the vicinity. It is however seldom a coincidence that de-notifications happen in vicinity of such developed areas. Several such cases in the past bear testimony to the fact that such de-notifications are made to purely for the benefit of vested interests.
In light of arbitrary land notification and de-notification of public lands, I had in a letter to the then Chief Minister on 5th February 2010 (enclosed) made suggestions to put an end to this practice that benefits vested commercial interests, which I have reiterated for your consideration:
- Complete ban on ad-hoc notification and de-notification process.
- De-notification and notification of land must be prohibited except for justifiable and legally provable public interest such as schools, parks, hospitals etc and never for private commercial interests.
- Government must discontinue the current process of land management and replace it with a transparent and disclosure-driven process.
- Public land is a resource, like minerals and spectrum, and Government should be equally cautious and using this resource for the betterment of public only and to enhance the exchequer for use in social and infrastructure spending.
I urge you to meet your promise of Good governance and initiate these changes to the notification/De-notification discretion that is being blatantly misused. It is time that the Corruption and funding of politics by economics of Land is put a stop to.
I look forward to your action on this matter.
Government of Karnataka
Copy to: Secretary, Justice Kempanna Enquiry Commission, Bangalore