Awaiting clarity on the charges

Awaiting clarity on the charges

Awaiting clarity on the charges

Betterment charge might be the BBMP’s way to bring thousands of property owners into the tax net. But many are unaware of the process involved, the dynamics of the payment system and linkages to the khata.

Here’s a closer look at what residents in different parts of the city have to say about the whole issue. In Kogilu Cross, for instance, betterment fee is an alien concept. Residents here say the Palike officials have not spoken about it yet.

However, the ones who did hear about it needed more clarity. One of them, Venkatesh Reddy owns a 30’ X 40’ site at Kogilu Cross, Prakruthi Layout. A  few days back, his father Thimma Reddy had visited the Palike office to pay the betterment fee, but returned without doing so.

Reddy explains, “The Palike engineers of our locality told my father that they have not got any intimidation from higher ups to collect the fee and hence cannot collect. We have all the property related documents and have been waiting to upgrade our ‘B’ Khata to ‘ A’ khata for years. There is no use having documents including land use conversion clearances if the officials are least bothered.”

There are around 400 to 500 sites in the Kogilu Cross area. Kumaresh, a resident says there is no clarity in the BBMP’s project. “We read in few sections of print media that Palike is going to collect fee only from the owners of 20X 30 sites. Most of the property owners here own plots of 40X 60, 30X 40 sq ft and above. Also we do not know how much to pay and the kind of buildings/ plots that come under this scheme.”

However, the prospect of getting an ‘A’ khata on payment of the betterment charge has given some hope to house owners in Mallathahalli. Several new apartment blocks and independent houses have sprung up in this area in the last few years.

Here’s what Gopal Krishna, who recently built a house in Mallathahalli, has to say: “Most of the houses here have only B khata, which objects us from any loan facilities. But if with betterment charges we get A khata, it will give us ownership and a sense of security, and perhaps we could live in peacel!.” However, his wife hastens to add that the amount fixed for betterment charges is “quite a bit.”

 A few lanes away, Krishnayya, another house owner, laments about the woes of having a B khata, “I have no Cauvery water, sanitary line or road here. While I would like to hope the civic body’s move is helpful, a recent incident has left me distrustful. Six months ago, I shelled out Rs 20,000 from my pocket to set up a street light pole, all legally. Still there is no light! Also, the betterment charges are quite high!"

Another resident, Dhanvendra, who oversees more than 70 housing projects, says "Although betterment charges are nothing new, the answer to how it is used and what the officials have to show for it is as obscure as before. Yet, when it is made a rule, we must pay."