BDA site owners must pay 'maintenance fee'

BDA won't provide infra but site owners must pay 'maintenance fee'

BDA officials maintained that there was no hike in property tax

Site owners from the sprawling housing colony in southwestern Bengaluru were outraged at the hike because the agency has called it a maintenance fee. Credit: DH Photo

Site owners from BDA housing layouts are in for a shock as the agency has added maintenance charges to their property tax dues. 

When the agency's property tax payments website opened on June 24 after being closed for months, site owners were stumped to see the tax outgo increase by anywhere between Rs 1,200 and Rs 3,600. 

"For four years now, I have paid a tax of Rs 834 for a vacant 30x40 site in Nadaprabhu Kempegowda Layout. This year, I was shocked to see that the tax payable has drastically gone up to Rs 2,633,” said Suryakiran A S, a site owner. 

Site owners from the sprawling housing colony in southwestern Bengaluru were outraged at the hike because the agency has called it a maintenance fee. The BDA hasn't yet created the promised amenities there. 

"We haven' been able to build our houses because the layout lacks basic amenities such as electricity and water supply connections. Why should we pay a maintenance fee when there is nothing to maintain?” Suryakiran said. 

Another site owner said the maintenance charges would add to their financial burden. "Since the BDA hasn't yet provided the amenities, many of us still live in rented homes. So we have to pay both the house rent and the EMI on the home loan that we took to buy the sites," he said. 

BDA officials maintained that there was no hike in property tax. “The decision to levy maintenance charges was approved in 2020 but we started implementing it this year. The BDA has to maintain roads and streetlights and ensure garbage collection. The maintenance charges will be used to pay for such works,” said S M Ramaprasad, Finance Member, BDA. 

He added that the charges were uniform across housing layouts and depended on the site size.

"We are charging between Rs 100 and Rs 300 a month. The exact amount depends on the plot size,” he said. 

Another senior BDA official said the property tax and maintenance charge payments were managed under two different accounts. 

The BDA received over Rs 25 crore in property tax last year, and sources say, it has set a target of Rs 35 crore for this year. 

The increase in the tax outgo wasn't the only problem faced by site owners on the relaunched website. 

Many complained of a mismatch between the break-up of tax components and the total tax payable. Some were unable to download the receipts after making the payment. 

On the mismatch, Ramaprasad said the payment gateway failed to compute and display the additional maintenance charges. "We will correct that,” Ramaprasad said. 

The other technical glitches, N S Madhu, Deputy Secretary-1, BDA, said, were teething problems for the relaunched website. "We are trying to resolve them," he added. 

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