Fingerprints to protect property owners

Fingerprints to protect property owners

In order to make issue of permanent khatas (property ownership documents) tamperproof, the BBMP will be fingerprinting property owners.

The fingerprinting will be part of BBMP”s plan for a biometric system aimed at eliminating corruption in property transactions, including doctoring of khathas by officials in collusion with land sharks. It will protect the genuine property owners’ interests. The fingerprints will be matched in order to authenticate the ownership.

To eliminate scope for doctoring the khatha by officials, fingerprints of the Assistant Revenue Officers (ARO), who made the khathas, will also be taken.

Outlined in the BBMP budget 2012-13, the biometric system of khatha issual will now be implemented across all 28 ARO offices from this financial year. Each ARO will now be given a biometric system, estimated to cost Rs 37,000 for taking the fingerprints of the citizens.

According to Palike officials, the system (software) of issuing biometric khathas has had a trial run at their head office, the project is set to take off.

Sources in BBMP state that the biometric system can only be implemented on the ground after the Permanent Identification Numbers (PID) for individual properties are given.

“We need the PID numbers to be issued first, before implementing the biometric system. Based on the PID numbers, the fingerprints of the property owners can be taken,” said a senior Palike official.

The biometric system for issuing the khatha is one of new systems that the BBMP will be implementing for authenticating the property ownership in the City. Currently, the Palike has identified 16 lakh properties in the City and are in the process of issuing the PID.

“The PID issuing process will be completed in the next few weeks. Once that is completed, the biometric process will begin,” said the official.

 Officials believe that the biometric system is nothing more than a security check for issuing the khathas and remove the highhandedness of the AROs. “Once the biometric system is in place, the khatha cannot be changed in the system without the property owner’s assent.

This will automatically override the ARO’s hold over issuing duplicate khathas to people and check manipulation by influential elements,” said another official.

Once the biometric system is in place, AROs will be held responsible if there are multiple claims on a property due to issue of same khatha to different people. “This is where the ARO fingerprints will be essential, for accountability,” said the official.

In case of alienation of the property, the biometric system will be fed with a new set of fingerprints of the new owner and the ARO. “With the relevant set of documents, the citizens can then approach the AROs to change the ownership and feed the new set of fingerprints,” the official said.

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