Bengaluru, Sep 25 (IANS) The passage of the Karnataka Land Revenue (Amendment) Bill, 2020 for the regularisation of unauthorised use of B-Kharab land in Bengaluru was surprisingly a smooth sailing affair in the Assembly on Friday.
The ruling BJP was in anticipation that the Congress might stall the bill, but to their surprise, Congress legislators themselves asked for amendment to the existing bill which could be extended across the state.
According to the bill, B-Kharab is a term used to describe wasteland which is attached to cultivable land, but is technically a waste land. In urban areas like Bengaluru, where land prices are very high, even this piece of land fetches huge sums when it is converted from cultivable to commercial or residential land.
The Congress, which had launched a Twitter campaign soon after the cabinet decided to come out with this bill, surprisingly took a U-turn in the Assembly by asking the ruling party to extend this to the entire state.
The state Congress on its Twitter handle had accused that the ruling BJP had joined hands with crony capitalists to sell 21,000 acres of B-Kharab land at throw away prices.
Piloting the bill, BJP legislator R. Ashoka was stunned when he heard senior Congress legislators like former Speaker R. Ramesh Kumar, Shivalinge Gowda, A.T. Ramaswamy and Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah appeal to the state government to extend the Act across the state in order to regularise B-Kharab land everywhere.
“I was very much worried when we framed this bill, as I thought it would kick up a storm in the Assembly. I am surprised now, and if you all want it, I would like to extend this benefit to all the farmers in the state. Let us discuss and work out the modalities in near future,” he said.
As soon as Ashoka proposed the passage of the bill, JD(S) MLA Shivalinge Gowda took objection with the state government, saying: “Why only private companies should be benefitted from this amendment? Why not our farmers across the state?”
Joining the debate, R. Ramesh Kumar asserted that farmers are harassed in several ways by the local bureaucrats due to their efforts to make B-Kharab land attached to their survey numbers.
“This is a big corruption racket in the villages. Let the farmers be given reprieve like the state government is giving reprieve to private companies,” he said.
Siddaramaiah, JD(S) MLA A.T. Ramaswamy and Congress legislator Priyank Kharge also strongly advocated that such benefits should be extended to all the farmers across the state.