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Thread: Look, how BHADA ‘flawed’ in allotting plots to people who were not eligible

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    Look, how BHADA ‘flawed’ in allotting plots to people who were not eligible


    Look, how BHADA ‘flawed’ in allotting plots to people who were not eligible

    POWER OF RTI: Information obtained by activist says ‘municipal jurisdiction’ criterion violated, officials allotted plots on basis of power connections that never existed
    D V MAHESHWARI

    Posted online: Tuesday, October 23, 2007 at 0000 hrs IST
    Bhuj, October 22

    More than seven years after the killer earthquake of January 2001 that had warranted a massive rehabilitation work in Bhuj, irregularities in allotment of compensatory plots to beneficiaries have come to light. Information obtained by an activist through RTI Act has revealed that Bhuj Area Development Authority (BHADA) had allotted plots to people who were not eligible under the scheme floated by the government.

    ‘’We recently came to know that the valuable plots were allotted to wrong people by BHADA for Bhuj which was governed by municipal laws before the earthquake. As a sample, we obtained 10 files of one building named Komal Vihar from BHADA under the RTI Act and found that all 19 beneficiaries of the collapsed building were wrong allottees,’’ said Arvind Gadhavi, Kutch district president of Shiv Sena, showing the evidence (copy with this newspaper).

    According to details, the building itself is not in the municipal area of Bhuj as it should be for taking benefit of housing scheme as per the State Resolution of September 11, 2002.

    Quoting its earlier resolutions of April 24, 2001, May 4, 2002 and August 30, 2002 which contain various housing packages for the quake-hit towns, this resolution talks of the applicability of “the scheme for allotment of land of re-location sites for tenements of the municipal towns of Bhuj, Anjar, Bhachau and Rapar.’’

    It was found that Komal Vihar apartment was in rural area in Mirzapar village on the outskirts of Bhuj. The village has its own gram panchayat which had on April 4, 2002 certified that this building was totally destroyed in the quake and was categorised as G-5 (a category for total destruction).

    Before that the same gram panchayat had issued construction permission for the building by its letter of September 27, 1996. It mentions the plot number 15 and 16 of the building on the land bearing survey number 32/1 and 32/2.

    Gadhavi said that the building was under construction when the quake hit the district. ‘’Though none of 19 apartment owners in the building physically lived there because it collapsed in the quake, all of them were given alternative plots at the two new location sites in Bhuj municipal area by then BHADA chief executive B K Thanki on the basis of wrong documents,’’ he said.

    He said the government scheme requires not only the quake-hit to be resident of Bhuj but he should have a residence in the building at least for one year prior to the quake.

    The activist alleged that the proof of residency was cooked up in the case. The main evidence on the basis of which BHADA made the allotment was electricity connections. “A certificate dated May 17, 2003 was obtained from the then GEB’s Bhuj City office which clearly stated that 19 electricity meters were put in the building,’’ he said.

    Gadhavi said that when they sent an RTI application to City-I office of the Paschim Gujarat Vij Co Ltd (PGVCL) in July this year, they got a reply in writing that no electricity meter had been put in the building. “The deputy engineer of PGVCL also clearly denied having released any electricity connection to the building and not issuing any electricity bills,’’ he said.
    Thanki has been transferred from this district long back. Present BHADA CEO and additional collector of Kutch, H S Mehta, when contacted, declined to make any comment. “I am yet to see any papers of the complaint from the government,’’ he said. Gadhavi claimed that he had sent details of irregularities to the State government.

    indianexpress.com :: Look, how BHADA ‘flawed’ in allotting plots to people who were not eligible



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    Re: Look, how BHADA ‘flawed’ in allotting plots to people who were not eligible


    As reported by Hiral Dave in indianexpress.com on 02 March 2011:
    Kutch land scam: Lone crusader dies the day CID begins probe

    Kutch land scam: Lone crusader dies the day CID begins probe

    On Monday, the CID (Crime) began investigations into what is allegedly one of the biggest (over Rs. 100 crore) post earthquake land scams in Kutch district. But Arvind Gadhvi (55), who had run the campaign against this scam single-handedly for the past six years, breathed his last, the same morning. He died of cardiac arrest while the CID sleuths were questioning a then district collector and two deputy collectors in connection with the scam.

    Ishwar Dadlani, a close friend of Gadhvi, who did all file work for him, said: He single-handedly put up a fight against the administration to expose the Rs. 100 crore scam. He used the RTI Act and a PIL to expose the scam in the last six years, which forced the state government to order a CID inquiry into the matter. But we lost him the same day when his hard work finally showed results. He added: I spoke to Gadhvi on Monday and he said this is just beginning. I had not I idea that these would be his final words.

    Gadhvi, a former president of the Kutch district Shiv Sena, had gathered evidence through RTI applications that powerful builders still held possessions of sites where high rises once stood before the 2001 earthquake.

    In its notification dated April 24, 2001, the state government had come out with a total of five rehabilitation packages to rebuild Kutch. According to fifth package, the affected families were given land (100 to 150 square feet) at new sites while the government was supposed to take over the original sites of the high rises. Majority of sites are located on Airport Road, Bankers Colony, Bhavesmagar, Bhattara Faliya, Hospital Road, Kans Baz Ravani, Sanskarnagar and Station Road. In Bhuj city, each site has a market rate exceeding Rs. 1 crore. Rehabilitation package was announced for major cites like Bhuj, Anjar, Rapar and Bhachchu.

    An RTI reply reply dated February 20, 2008 by the Bhuj Area Development Authority information officer to Gadhvi showed that the government had not taken possession of the sites in all the 89 collapsed high rises in Bhuj city. The RTI reply showed that at two places, two new projects had come up a commercial complex named Deep Mandir and a residential project, Balaji Apartment.

    Dadlani said: Gadhvi began a campaign in 2005, but for years, did not get any response from the concerned departments. But he did his home work and in 2008, used the RTI Act to gather the evidence he wanted.

    In April 2009, Gadhvi wrote a letter to Chief Minister Narendra Modi furnishing all the evidence. A departmental inquiry was ordered into this matter by SMF Bukhari, Officer on Special Deputy, Departmental Inquiry . But in the absence of any departmental action in the next six months, Gadhvi filled a PIL in October 2009 in Gujarat HC stating that the state government was supposed to take over the sites.

    Though the HC passed an order in 2009, the CID was handed over the case in the beginning of 2010. This was followed with the arrest of then Kutch Collector Pradeep Sharma in another earthquake related scam.

    But investigation into this particular case began only on Monday. Two collectors and eight deputy collectors , who served in Kutch district during the rehabilitation period, have reportedly came under the CID scanner.

    Gadhvi overcame several obstacles in these six years. His house, located near a hospital, was reportedly demolished in 2006 by then collector Sharma on the pretext of non-adherence to Town Planning schemes. Dudlani said Sharma was irked as Gadhvi had started a campaign against corruption. Two years ago, he lost his wife to diabetes. He started a weekly newspaper from Bhuj called Kutch Sukan around the same time, Dudlani said. The main objective was to write about the scams he came across, he added.
    Twitter: @cjkarira



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