There is much confusion over the proposal of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to de-link the B-Khata issue from the Akrama Sakrama scheme. The proposal may benefit only owners of vacant sites, contrary to what was stated earlier.
There are nearly 3.8 lakh properties classified under B-Khata in the city, of which over 1 lakh are vacant sites. Most of these properties come under the newly added areas — 110 villages, one Town Municipal Council and 7 City Municipal Councils.
The civic body, while claiming that de-linking B-Khata from the Akrama Sakrama scheme will make way for orderly growth in the city, had stated that the proposal will benefit only vacant sites on land without requisite change in land use and those on unauthorised layouts, and not buildings with deviations in floor area ratio or setback.
The buildings with deviations in floor area ratio or setback will have to wait for the Akrama Sakrama scheme to be implemented. The scheme is being heard in the Supreme Court.
Justifying the proposal, BBMP officials claimed that after de-linking, the owners of B-Khata properties will be able to regularise them by paying a penalty, which will then enable them to avail bank loans, apply for building plan approval, Completion Certificate and Occupancy Certificates. They will also be able to sell the property at the prevailing market rates.
Currently, B-Khata property owners are in a quandary, as they are not able to even divide the property or sell it.
BBMP Commissioner N. Manjunath Prasad told The Hindu that the State government had, in March this year, brought in some amendments to the Karnataka Land Revenue Act, 1964, paving the way for such properties to be regularised for a fee. He said that the civic body had also submitted a proposal regarding the same before the amendment was brought in. The move is expected to bring in close to ₹1,000 crore to the civic body by way of fines / penalties for regularisation.
He said that after regularisation, the owners will have to come to the BBMP for building plan approvals. “This will obviously make way for orderly growth. Currently, many properties in the newly added areas have been constructed in violation of the existing by-laws. For planned and orderly growth, the B-Khata issue has to be de-linked from the Akrama Sakrama scheme,” he said and added that the proposal would now have to be cleared by the government.
Opposition to proposal
Civic activists have opposed the proposed de-linking of B-Khata properties from the Akrama Sakrama scheme.
N.S. Mukunda, founder of Citizens’ Action Forum, said that when a case pertaining to Akrama Sakrama scheme was pending in the Supreme Court, the BBMP should not have proposed de-linking B-Khatas from the scheme and converting them to A-Khata for a penalty / fee. “This move can be challenged in court. Why were the violations allowed in the first place? The government and the civic officials should have ensured that rules were adhered to,” he said.
Holding BBMP officials responsible for haphazard development in the city, he claimed that once B-Khatas are converted to A-Khatas, the land rates will increase, which will only benefit land sharks.
N.R. Suresh from Namma Bengaluru Foundation, one of the organisations that filed the petition against the Akrama Sakrama scheme, said that the BBMP, instead of ensuring governance aimed at creating a city where breaking the law has consequences, was deliberately creating a culture where violating the law pays off.
“Bengaluru cannot be governed by such a culture of brazen violation of laws with active support by those in government. B-Khata is like Akrama Sakrama, a way to reward law-breakers. To justify fund-raising from B-Khata is as ridiculous as saying police will take a percentage from all gangs of robbers to raise money for the city,” he said.
What are A-Khata and B-Khata?
A-Khata and B-Khata are two types of khatas created by the BBMP for the purpose of property tax collection. Properties are classified under two registers (khatas).
While under A-Khata register is a list of all legal properties, those under the B-Khata register are those that are in violation of government regulations. For instance, properties / sites in unauthorised layouts or on layouts formed on revenue land, buildings that don’t conform to by-laws of the BBMP, buildings constructed without building plan approval or those that don’t have Completion Certificate or Occupation Certificate are classified as B-Khata properties.
Owners of such properties find it difficult to sell them at the market rate, can’t apply for building plan approval or licences or avail bank loans.
What is Akrama Sakrama scheme?
Under the Akrama Sakrama scheme that was notified in 2014, the State government proposed to regularise properties / sites on revenue sites without the requisite change of land use (i.e. from agricultural to non-agricultural), those in unauthorised layouts, buildings with setback violations and floor area violations. The owners of such properties were required to pay a penalty or fine for regularisation after submitting the requisite documents.
However, the scheme did not take off and is currently being heard in the Supreme Court, after petitions were filed against it by civic activists.
Meanwhile, the BBMP proposed to de-link B-Khatas from the scheme.