Tuesday, July 28, 2009

NO MORE BRIBES

NO MORE BRIBES
A group of residents at Sun City near the Sarjapur-Outer Ring Road junction refuse to grease official palms to obtain khata, pay property tax and the like.They used RTI to find out the status of their applications, forcing the officials to act. It’s a model for the rest of Bangalore
SAHANA CHARAN


In our society, where not many seem averse to corruption and think more about comfort than virtue, the decision of a group of young Bangalore residents to go against the grain is heartening.
Under the aegis of the Suncity Apartment Owners Association (SAOA), 250 residents of Suncity Apartments on the Sarjapur-Outer Ring Road junction have paid their property tax for last year, and about 100 of them are in the process of getting the khata of their apartment registered shortly, all without paying a single paisa in bribe, either to the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike, the Bangalore Development Authority or the revenue officials.
OVERCOMING OBSTACLES
Not that it has been a hurdle-free journey. “At every step, we encountered corrupt officials - from the beginning while taking the application to the last stage of making the actual payment by demand draft - who wanted their share. But we did not relent. This meant several trips to government offices and long waits. But despite that, we are getting our work done honestly,” says Ashok Dubey, one of the senior-most members in the association, who has made innumerable trips to all the government offices for khata registration. “I have been a government officer all my life and have never taken bribe from anyone; so why should I resort to corruption now,” adds Dubey, who also initiated a senior citizens club at Suncity which does a lot of welfare activities. This success story has been put up on the website of the president of the association, Hariprakash Agarwal (www.vicharpravah.com) and has got an overwhelming response from residents from all over Bangalore, wanting to follow in their footsteps.
RIGHT IS MIGHT
It all started one and a half years ago, when a group of new occupants of the complex were faced with the problem of getting their khata registered. They were faced with a situation of having to shell out at least Rs 25,000-30,000 just for getting the khata. That’s when Suncityites Vidyasagar, Harshad, Sanjeev Suman, Renjith Chitharanajan and Dayanand, who had been running from pillar to post to get the khata and had hit a wall, filed an RTI application and asked the BBMP Commissioner to furnish details about the nature of their khata application. After struggling for almost five months, they finally got their khatas registered, without paying anything more than the prescribed amount.
“That is when we decided that we should help other residents and make our community free of corruption. Our aim was to put across the message that we should not pay a hefty amount to get something that is rightfully ours,” says Vidyasagar Magdum, treasurer of SAOA.
SAOA also organised a camp in their premises for khata registration with the help of local MLA Satish Reddy, who has been a supporter of their cause. Of course, they were faced with corrupt officials even at the camp, apart from resistance from residents who wanted to take the easy way out, but they stood their ground. “The result is that we are in the process of getting at least 150 khata applications cleared in the first phase and will start the process for more shortly,” says Dubey. The same approach has been taken for getting electricity bills transferred and paying property tax.
THE WAY FORWARD
The group has now joined hands with other resident associations in the area and are in the process of forming the Bellandur-Iblur Residents Association, which will have a sub-committee specifically for bribe-free khata registration. “Till now, we had accepted malpractices as a way of life; it’s time to change that,” says Dubey.

3 Comments:

At Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 10:44:00 AM GMT+5:30, Blogger Rajeev said...

This is really GREAT!!...

 
At Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 3:10:00 PM GMT+5:30, Anonymous Manoj said...

Almost every construction in Bangalore has a violation of some sort... else, within the given laws of set-back distance etc. flats will be unaffordable. In this case, there was probably no violations. Else the khata applications would have been rejected.
Manoj

 
At Wednesday, August 5, 2009 at 4:00:00 PM GMT+5:30, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kudos to this team

 

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