Stir against Information Technology Investment Region project in Bangalore

Farmers want government to shift the project away from Arkavathy catchment area

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Resistance is brewing against the ambitious Information Technology Investment Region (ITIR) on the outskirts of the city, which recently received the go ahead from the union government.

Local farmers are preparing to launch an agitation, arguing that the proposed ITIR project, spread over 10,000 acres of land in the catchment area of Arkavathy in Devanahalli and Doddaballapur, would be in direct conflict of the project announced by the state government for the rejuvenation of the river.

Hundreds of farmers filed objections before the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB) three years ago soon after it notified around 2,100 acres of agricultural land for the proposed project in seven villages in Devanahalli and Doddaballapur taluks. Farmers have been trying to dissuade the government from acquiring the lands, arguing that the area proposed to be acquired was purely agricultural land, but the government has been unresponsive.

Farmers have now warned the government that either it shift the project from the river catchment area to elsewhere, or face a legal battle in the court. KS Harish, president of Hasiru Sene (Bangalore Rural District) said: “The state government is making facile statements in the media about rejuvenating Arkavathy on the lines of river Thames in London, while going ahead with the project. If, they acquire the land and setup ITIR, how can they rejuvenate the river?”

He recalled that in the early stages of the project, the state government announced that they would acquire land in villages that are close to the Arkavathy for the first stage of the project. But, the seven notified villages were all in the catchment area of the river. Many villages identified for second phase too were in the catchment area.

Harish said the Hasiru Sene will fight against the project in the high court once the final notification for the land acquisition was issued.

The state government plans to acquire 12,000 acres of land in 29 villages of Devanahalli and Doddaballapura taluks for the ITIR project. The government has already identified the land, and a preliminary notification has been issued to acquire 2,100 acres for the first phase of the project in seven villages: Rabbanahalli, Ramanathapura, Aravanahalli, Doddagollahalli, Chapparadahalli and Byradenahalli of Devanahalli taluk and Linganahalli of Doddaballapur taluk.

The project, according to the government, is expected to attract investment to the tune of Rs 1.06 lakh crore and generate direct and indirect employment to the tune of 4 million jobs by 2032. The project, mooted in 2008 by the department of Electronics and Information Technology, will be implemented with the assistance of the union government.

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