Bangalore Division of SWR secures Land from Encroachers

Finishing touches being given to a compound wall constructed by the Railways on its land on Gandhinagar 6th Cross Road
Finishing touches being given to a compound wall constructed by the Railways on its land on Gandhinagar 6th Cross Road

Bangalore (SBC): Battling stiff opposition from the BBMP, the Bengaluru Railway division has now taken full control of 12.7 guntas of land (13,800 sqft) in Gandhinagar, estimated to be worth Rs 69 crore. The Railways has completed the erection of a permanent stone masonry compound wall around it on Saturday to prevent encroachment of the area.

The Railways decided to build a permanent structure to protect its triangular plot on 6th Cross (just behind the Corporation Girls’ High School) earlier this week, said Estate Officer and Additional Divisional Railway Manager (ADRM) Sunanda Arul. They began construction work of the wall on July 6.

As soon as work began, it was stalled by Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) officials, who insisted the land was theirs, said a top railway official, who was at the spot.

“An attempt was again made to erect a wall on Tuesday (July 7) and the civic body officials refused to let us go ahead with the construction as they claimed the property was theirs,” he said. The Railway Police Force was also called in during the two days just to avert any serious problem, the official added.

Railway officials then presented all the the correspondence and original documents they had in their possession relating to the land to top BBMP officials.

The estate officer said, “We had many documents to prove our ownership — letters from an Under-secretary, the original land plan and a gazette notification. We finally convinced BBMP officials that the property is ours and the issue was resolved.”

“After that we began construction of the wall from July 8,” she said.

On the rationale behind the Railways sudden decision to erect the wall, Arul said, “This is a preventive step to ensure our property is not encroached upon. We are battling encroachment of property in a few places and so have decided to safeguard this prime property.”

Railway officials had visited the place on April 25 and put up boards claiming ownership as three maths, two in Shivamogga and one in Chitradurga, were battling to take ownership of the property. One even attempted to sell the land through real estate agents.

BBMP to make exchange offer

Railways had initially planned to build quarters for its staff in the plot. However, BBMP appears keen to have the property for its development work. “Since it has now acknowledged Railways to be the owner of the property, the Palike might consider the option of acquiring the property from us,” the ADRM said. BBMP Commissioner Kumar Naik confirmed that BBMP was planning to get this portion of land from the Railways. “We are looking at providing an alternative site to the Railways and taking this plot of land from them,” he said. Details on the location were still being looked into, he added.