Updated: June 19, 2021 8:50:15 am
The Karnataka High Court has stated that any move by the state to sell 3,667 acres of government land in the Ballari region to JSW Steel would be subject to the outcome of a PIL filed against the move.
A division bench of the High Court issued the order this week after the BJP-led state government informed the court of an April 26 Cabinet decision to sell 3,667 acres of land to JSW Steel but the decision was not confirmed in a subsequent Cabinet meeting on May 27.
The move to sell the land in Ballari to JSW Steel has been called into question in a PIL filed by one K A Paul. Last week, a division bench of the High Court had asked the state to clarify the status of the alleged move to sell the land at a cost of Rs 1.22 lakh per acre, when the prevailing rate was around Rs 1 crore per acre in the region.
On June 15, the Karnataka government informed the court that no final decision had been taken on selling the land.
“A compliance memo is filed on record by the state government enclosing a letter dated 14th June 2021 addressed by the additional chief secretary to the government, commerce and industries department. There are three annexures to the said letter. In the said letter, it is stated that in the cabinet meeting held on 26th April 2021, a decision was taken to execute the absolute sale deeds for the areas of 2000.58 acres and 1666.73 acres respectively in favour of the eleventh respondent. It is stated in the said letter that the said decision has not been confirmed in the subsequent cabinet meeting,” the High Court noted.
“We make it clear that if any decision of confirmation is taken by the state government on the basis of the decision taken in the cabinet meeting held on 26th April 2021, the said decision and the action taken on the basis of the said decision will be subject to further orders which may be passed in this petition,” the court said while posting the case for hearing on July 13.
The decision to sell the land by the B S Yediyurappa government has been opposed by some MLAs from the ruling BJP, including opponents of the CM like legislators Basanagouda Patil Yatnal, Arvind Bellad, who wrote a letter to the party leadership saying the sale was against the interests of the state.
Facing opposition from within the BJP, the Cabinet on May 27 reversed the April 26 move to sell the 3667 acres of land to JSW Ltd at a low cost.
The sale proposal had earlier been tabled by the Congress-JD(S) government in 2019 but was withdrawn after a two-day BJP protest – in which current CM Yediyurappa was also a participant.