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How NICE changed alignment of Infrastructure Corridor

Several farmers from Gonipura village in Kumbalgodu village staged a protest last week against what they termed “forcible acquisition” of their land by Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise for the construction of the Bangalore- Mysore Infrastructure Corridor. It was one of the many protests that have been held over the past few months.

At the core of the issue is the changed alignment of the infrastructure corridor. While NICE maintains that it has the mandate to deviate from the original alignment decided after the framework agreement, farmers say that it does not have the legal authority to do so.

Documents available with the Express show that the alignment was indeed changed to suit the concessionaire’s interests. These documents have been accessed under the Right to Information by farmers and have been compiled into a book titled “White Paper on BMICP fraud” published by the Dalit Sangharsha Samiti.

The RTI documents show that the alignment was changed from what was originally conceived – and forwarded to the government. For instance, a letter dated July 2, 1996 addressed to the Deputy Commissioner, Bangalore Urban, lists the survey numbers of land to be acquired for the project. Another letter addressed to the Secretary, PWD, dated November 26, 1996 lists the same survey numbers. The then PWD Secretary C R Ramesh circulated the survey numbers among various departments for the implementation of the project. Both these letters are backed by a Government Order dated November 20, 1995 for the implementation of the project.

However, a note circulated by the then Chief Secretary, B R Prabhakara, on July 31, 1997 contains radically different survey numbers.

For instance, village Chikka Thoguru where survey numbers 28, 29, 30, 34, 35, 46-49, 51, 52 have been notified does not even find a mention either in the note circulated by the PWD secretary (on 26/11/96) or in the letter dated 2/07/96 to the Bangalore Urban Deputy Commissioner. Moreover, there is no backing of a GO for the changed survey numbers, the farmers claim.

Farmers and RTI activists say that similarly, government and private land in villages like Beratena Agrahara, Basapura, Begur, Yelenahalli, Kamanahalli and several others have been notified to be acquired.

In all, land in 19 villages has been notified “illegally”. They claim that these survey numbers were not part of the correspondence dated 26/11/96 and 2/07/96.

However, the survey numbers of these villages have been included in the note that the Chief Secretary circulated among various departments on 31/07/97.

What’s more, the government did not even carry out a joint survey of the land to be acquired. The survey was carried out singlehandedly by the concessionaire, a fact which Ashok Kheny, the MD of NICE, has admitted to in the High Court.

Source: Express Buzz


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