Not all BDA house owners convinced about paying penalty for regularisation

The State government, on Thursday, cleared an Ordinance to regularise unauthorised houses in several Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) layouts that were constructed 12 years ago after owners pay a fine. But there are many questions that remain unanswered, say owners, who want to know what will happen if they don’t pay the penalty or if their houses are less than 12 years old.

“We have A Khata and the khata extract is in our name. We have water and power connections, the betterment charges and property tax payments are up to date. We have availed a loan from a nationalised bank. Why should I pay 20% of my property value to the BDA for one certificate? What if I don’t pay?” asked Krishnaprasad P., a resident of Nandini Layout, which is a BDA layout.

However, not all property owners have A Khata, like Mr. Krishnaprasad.

BDA sources say that after regularisation, property owners will have clear title, be able to avail loans or sell the property.

According to previous calculations of the BDA, ₹5,000 crore was expected to come by way of penalty for regularisation. A minister, who spoke to The Hindu on condition of anonymity, said the Ordinance is a revenue-generating exercise for the cash-strapped government. During the COVID-19 crisis and lockdown, the government proposed sale of corner sites and passed the Ordinance to generate much-needed revenue. The revenue generated out of this scheme will go to the State exchequer and not the BDA.

The authority had earlier hoped to use revenue from regularisation to fund Peripheral Ring Road. “The priority of the government is to tide over the current crisis,” the minister said.

However, Rakesh Singh, Additional Chief Secretary, Urban Development Department, maintained that this was not a revenue-generation exercise. “The objective is to regularise the unauthorised constructions by levying a nominal fine, as BDA is not in a position to utilise that land,” he said.

Meanwhile, opinion on the regularisation scheme is divided with many owners convinced that it is an exercise in futility. They also pointed out the ambiguity about the fate of buildings less than 12 years old.

N.S. Mukunda, founder-president of Citizens’ Action Forum, said the government was under the wrong impression that citizens will opt for the scheme. “There is no real benefit, apart from clear title. Citizens are also struggling following the lockdown. How does the government expect these citizens to pay?” he asked and added that CAF would consult legal experts. CAF has already challenged the Akrama-Sakrama scheme, which is pending in the Supreme Court.

Mr. Singh, however, said citizens would be given sufficient time to pay the penalty and regularise their properties.

BDA Commissioner G.C. Prakash was unavailable for comments, despite several attempts.

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Printable version | May 31, 2020 3:49:45 AM |

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