'B' in B-khatas means bribe, may be?

'B' in B-khatas means bribe, may be?

Up to Rs 2,500 charged for issuing the documents

Some take it in their stride and shell out bribes while many refuse to give in. The move initiated by BBMP to issue ‘B’ khatas to those who had not paid betterment charges to the local bodies was welcomed since the documents are critical to access loans or secure approval for building plans.

A sum of Rs 100 was fixed as the fee for issue of the khata. However, the ground reality is something different.

Amounts ranging between Rs 500 and Rs 2,500 are being charged by staff for issuing the documents, allege many who have visited the BBMP help centres to apply for the same.
Ramesh of Annasandrapalya recalls the Rs 2,000 demanded from him for the certificate at the help centre in the area, a sum he refused to pay.

Money for higher-ups

Charlotte, employed in an advertising agency, who approached the same centre to obtain khatas for three properties belonging to her family said, “I was asked Rs 6,000 totally for the properties. The staff here clearly stated that they were asking the money for the higher-ups who had to sign the khata,” she recalls.

After approaching the area’s head office at Marathahalli and pursuing her application with much determination, Charlotte finally paid the staff Rs 2,000 instead of the Rs 300 necessary for three properties.

B N Armugam, president of M Visweswaraya Nagar Residents’ Welfare Association recounts cases of many in the area who had paid the “bribes” for fear they may be deprived of their khata if they did not oblige.

“It is not just the BBMP centre at Kalkere Main Road but also centres in Hoodi and Horamavu where property owners have paid much more to get their khata,” he stated.
The bills generally issued in all cases specify the official fee of Rs 100 for a property.

However, members of the association approached the BBMP office with a letter bearing the association seal and were issued the khata just by paying the mandatory Rs 100.
A few chat sites give instances of the experiences undergone by different property owners before obtaining the certificate and the sums they had to part with. One owner shared this interesting piece about throwing in the word ‘Lokayukta’ to avoid paying extra money!

Asked about the malpractices, Mahadevapura Joint Commissioner Heera Naik promised that stringent action would be taken against any staff member involved in such activities.
“We only require one complaint letter addressed to any higher-up in the Zonal office. There is no need for anyone to pay anything extra,” he declared.

The khata owners hear him. But do his staff?