Bangalore Palace land acquisition for road widening: Mysore Royal Family to get Rs. 1,400 cr. in TDR
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Bangalore Palace land acquisition for road widening: Mysore Royal Family to get Rs. 1,400 cr. in TDR

April 19, 2024

Transferable Development Rights (TDR) notification to be issued by May 17

Bengaluru: In a major policy decision, the State Government has approved granting of Transferable Development Rights (TDR) amounting to Rs. 1,400 crore to the erstwhile Mysore Royal Family for acquiring vacant land on both sides of Palace Grounds in the heart of Bengaluru.

The Urban Development Department has been directed to issue a notification to this effect by May 17. Notably, the directive was issued on Mar. 15, 2024, even before the announcement of the LS election schedule.

TDR enables developers to build over and above what is permissible. It is issued by the Government whenever it is unable to pay cash compensation for acquiring the land. In exchange, the legal heirs of the erstwhile Royal Family will get TDR certificates, also known as ‘Notional Land’.

According to sources, it has come to light that two influential figures within the administration have already clandestinely entered into an agreement to purchase these rights.

Approximately 15.39 acres of land surrounding the iconic Bangalore Palace, located in the heart of the State Capital, has been designated for widening and the Government was planning to acquire the land.

This area encompasses a section along Ballari Road, stretching from Mehkri Circle to the BDA Junction, as well as the unused portion along Jayamahal Road, extending from Mehkri Circle to the Cantonment Railway Station.

Control of Bangalore Palace

In 1996, the State Government — through the Bangalore Palace (Acquisition and Transfer) Act, 1996 — decided to take control of the Bangalore Palace for maintenance, a matter that has been pending in Court ever since.

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In such a scenario, if TDR is awarded for the Government-acquired land around the Palace, the rights to the Bangalore Palace would naturally go to the Royal Family.

As such, the Government had not granted compensation till now, sources said.

Questioning the Government’s decision of land acquisition, the Royal Family moved the Supreme Court and the Apex Court ruled in favour of the Royal Family, directing the State Government to award compensation at prevailing market rates.

The JD(S)-Congress Government, led by then CM H.D. Kumaraswamy, had pledged to resolve the dispute and agreed to compensate the Royal Family. However, the subsequent Basavaraj Bommai Government, in September 2022, chose not to grant the rights to the Royal Family, citing the substantial compensation in the form of TDR.

Instead, officials in the Basavaraj Bommai Government proposed pursuing full custody of the 472 acres of Bangalore Palace land by seeking to overturn the status quo established by the Supreme Court regarding the Karnataka State legislation known as the Bangalore Palace (Acquisition and Transfer) Act, 1996.

Cabinet meeting chaired by D.K. Shivakumar

On Mar. 15, 2024, the Siddaramaiah Government decided to address the issue, which was finalised during a Cabinet meeting that was chaired by Deputy Chief Minister D.K. Shivakumar. The Cabinet decided to revise it in the September 2022 order in light of the contempt cases filed in the Supreme Court.

The Cabinet resolved to allocate the TDR worth Rs. 1,400 crore and even decided to give the TDR by May 17 and accordingly ordered the Urban Development Department to issue a notification.

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On its part, the Urban Development Department issued an order to implement the Cabinet decision even before the announcement of the election schedule.

The influential figures who were instrumental in persuading the State Government to allocate TDR worth Rs. 1,400 crore following the Supreme Court order during the Kumaraswamy Government have once again exerted their influence in the Siddaramaiah Government, having a significant impact on the decision-making process, sources said.

With such a substantial allocation of TDR, the Royal Family could potentially develop a commercial building spanning 13,91,742 sq.ft elsewhere by transferring or selling these rights.

The demand for such TDRs is significant, as builders purchase them to construct commercial buildings in prime locations within the city centre.

Siddaramaiah was instrumental in Bangalore Palace (Acquisition and Transfer) Act, 1996

During the tenure of the J.H. Patel Government, Siddaramaiah, who served as the Deputy CM, along with Law Minister M.C. Nanaiah, obtained approval from both Houses of the Karnataka Legislature to bring the properties of the Royal Family under Government control, a move initiated in 1996 when Bangalore Palace (Acquisition and Transfer) Act, 1996 was brought in.

However, the Mysore Royal Family moved the Supreme Court challenging this Government action. As of now, the case is still pending in the Apex Court. Interestingly, the individual who initially sought to bring the properties of the Royal Family under Government control is now the Chief Minister. Under Siddaramaiah’s leadership, the Government is now implementing the Supreme Court’s order, providing the Royal Family with this substantial amount of TDR.

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