Officer-citizen nexus drains civic agency's coffers

Officer-citizen nexus drains civic agency's coffers

BBMP plans cross verifying of properties in City to check undervaluing

The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike has decided to cross verify every property in the City to check ‘undervaluing’ of houses, sites and commercial establishments.

With 16.59 lakh properties in the City, the Palike has a tough task in identifying owners who are ‘undervaluing’ their properties.

While admitting that the Palike was being siphoned off of its dues, Palike Commissioner M K Shankarlinge Gowda said there were many more properties in certain pockets of the City that have been ‘undervalued’ by declaring lower measurements to reduce the property tax applicable. 

Citizens have been trying to pass off their 50x80 sites as 40x60 sites, and 40x60 properties as 30x40 properties in order to escape the higher property tax brackets.

 However, with the implementation of Geographic Information System (GIS) last year, the Palike now claims that they have the exact measurements of each of the 16.59 lakh properties in the City. “Apart from the assistance of the GIS, property owners have now been asked to attach their 2008-09 assesment for cross verification, while paying their taxes for 2012-13,” said Gowda.

Actual measurement

Based on discrepancies, notices are now being served to the ingenious property owners, who tried to escape the higher property tax brackets. They are being asked to pay their dues and arrears for the actual admeasurement of their sites. 

Further, the officer-citizen nexus has helped in the undervaluation of properties. To check this, the Palike has now decided to cross verify properties by sending revenue officers of one zone to check properties in another zone. Gowda hopes that the move will help break the nexus between the BBMP revenue officers and property owners.

Acting on this, revenue inspectors from Dasarahalli are likely to go to the West zone and West zone inspectors may be asked to inspect and verify the properties in the East zone of the Palike.

Meanwhile, the Palike is planning to form special teams to target commercial establishments that have evaded paying property taxes over the years.

“We are expecting commercial properties, like hotels, paying guest accommodations and IT parks, to pay their property taxes, voluntarily by the end of May. From June or July, special teams will be formed to verify the properties and collect taxes from the commercial establishments,” said Gowda.

The Palike is expecting to accrue Rs 1,800 crore for the year 2012-13, with Rs 570 crore already in their coffers since April 1 of this year.

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