With rising inflation, bribes too shoot up

Police, stamps and registration departments top grossers

With rising inflation, bribes too shoot up

As inflation rises, bribes too are rising. There has been a fifty per cent rise in value of bribes from 2009 to 2014 for varied public services.

If you plan property purchase and seek public services from public institutions, be prepared to shell out double the amount you would have paid five years ago. And as per a study by ipaidabribe.com, the police department gets the highest bribe compared to all other departments.

Property has always been a good source of revenue for the BBMP. A builder who did not want to be identified told this paper that he would pay Rs 1,500-2,000 as bribe five years back for a khata certificate, but now he has to pay Rs 5,000. A property he is now developing, on which he has planned 70 apartments, is attracting bribe of Rs 60-70 lakh.

“In the past, this could have been done at Rs 35-40 lakh. There is a fixed amount for each service and slabs are made to ensure all officials from the bottom to the top are “taken care of.” At least 10 people need to be taken care for property matters. Apart from this is the money sought by the sub-registrar’s office and the Lokayukta officials at the very bottom, who may take care of their seniors.

If you don’t pay up, officials call for a lot of documents and letters to the extent that you feel it is better to pay off the official and get the matter done. Officials make you run from pillar to post, seeking all sorts of letters when only four documents are necessary for the approval. They ask for 14 documents at the very least.”

In this planned property, each apartment or house has to pay Rs 1 lakh as bribe to the builder who in turn passes on the money to officials. Seventy apartments would mean Rs 70 lakh and that too in west Bangalore in areas that are not posh.

Plan sanctions alone “cost” Rs 7.5 lakh earlier, now it is Rs 15 lakh. Developers say they would pay half of all this five years ago. The sub-registrar’s office seeks bribes starting at Rs 30,000 and run to lakhs of rupees depending on the range of services sought.

Then the stamps and registration comes into picture attracting hefty bribes. What it may take to get approvals for south, east and north Bangalore is anybody’s guess. The bribe amount is charged as part of the overall price of the apartment being sold.

The builder says developers cannot bear the burden and so pass it on to the customers. In case of property transactions, bribe has to be paid in the BBMP for khata, sanction of building plans, road cutting for water, road and sanitary connections mainly. Apart from this, bribes also have to be paid in the BWSSB and Bescom. The going bribe rate is Rs 20,000 for a water connection per house and nearly Rs 10,000 for electricity connection.

The Regional Transport Office is another major department where bribes are given and taken. Earlier, most work would be done for Rs 100-150, now touts charge on average nothing less than Rs 300 even for basic services. Vehicle registration, ownership transfer, licences, change in registration, registration of out-station vehicles attract high bribes running into thousands. Passport verification and passport delivery are also major points for bribe giving and taking.

According to K Venkatesh, who is in charge of the anti-corruption website ipaidabribe.com, five departments are top grossers of bribe. The police department get the highest bribes, the stamps and registration next, third is Transport department, fourth is municipal services and fifth is the passport department.

“There are so many other departments where bribes are paid. I am sharing the top five bribe grossers in Bangalore.” The other departments where bribes are received include airports, banking, bureau of immigration, commercial tax, sales tax and VAT, customs, excise and service tax, education, food and civil supplies, forest, foreign trade, health and family welfare, government hospitals, income tax, judiciary, labour,  passport and municipal services, pension, post office, PSU’s, revenue, PWD, Railways, religious trusts, slum, social welfare, telecom and urban development services.

Venkatesh says that the website gets around nine to 10 complaints a day - 240-300 per month and 2,400-3,600 a year. Most complaints come from middle class sections, youngsters and professionals. The hotline maintained by the website too attracts complaints.

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