Over the past few months, Bengaluru has witnessed notices being slapped on dream homes and properties being demolished, thanks to an aggressive drive against 'illegal' construction over stormwater drains. 


However, it is also true that much of this construction occurred without the owners knowing that they were on the illegal ground, with both government agencies and banks verifying the home documents. 


Addressing the sense of gloom spreading over homeowners, and potential homebuyers in Bengaluru, the Deputy Commissioner of Bengaluru has appealed to home buyers to be wary of TV and paper ads used to lure unsuspecting customers, who will be sold lake bed or forest land. 


Narendra, a victim who lost his house in Bommasandra due to the recent demolition drive of the BBMP, says that the property belonged to his mother and they built their house two decades ago. 


He says that there was no stormwater drain then and accused the BBMP of demolishing the homes of the poor in the pretext of finding lost stormwater drains.

"We have documents, paid taxes, water bills, and even paid betterment charges. The BBMP ignored all our pleas and bulldozed homes. The worst is that the BBMP did not even mention any compensation. My mother is forced to live away from her dream home as half of the house is demolished," lamented Narendra.


He is scared to buy any homes in the city as lake beds, or forest lands, are sold to unsuspecting and unfortunate buyers.


Like Narendra, Prakash, another homeowner who lost more than half of his house due to demolitions at Vidyaranyapura, accused politicians and officials of being hand-in-glove. 


"The homes are built on the sites sold by a land developer. The survey number did not have any stormwater drain on it and we were simply cheated. Due to this demolition, we are forced to live in the dilapidated structure," he said.

 

A classic example is the Ideal Homes developer in RR Nagar, which has legally taken only 42 acres of land from the revenue department and has illegally included seven acres to that property. 

 

The irony is that the builder got BDA approval, hence many buyers were cheated. 

 

V Shankar, the Deputy Commissioner, explained that developers would usually grab 'B' Kharab land - meant for roads, stormwater drains and non-commercial purposes - and illegally build on them. 

 

"As per the high court direction, we have no choice and have to retake land that falls under the 'B' Kharab category. Before buying any property in Bengaluru, one must take check the survey number with the tahsildar office. The survey number will be enough to tell whether the land comes under 'B' Kharab, forest or lake," the Commissioner said.


All in all, though demonetization may have made property prices cheaper, Bengalureans better take extra care before committing life savings to a 'dream home'.