Thursday, December 29, 2005

Koramangala residents lose in the game between BMP and KHB

Koramangala residents lose in the game between BMP and KHB
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: Flat owners in the National Games Village (NGV) are being trampled in the course of a cynical wrestling match between the Karnataka Housing Board (KHB) and the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP).

Even seven years after its completion, the apartment complex has not yet been taken over by the BMP, and residents are being arm-twisted into paying huge amounts as property tax.

A few days ago, flat owner K V Ramachandran faced difficulty selling his property as he had no khata, and the Civic Body insisted that he pay tax arrears for years prior to his purchase.

Eventually Ramachandran convinced his buyer to pay an additional Rs 50,000 towards arrears not due from him.

At the time of purchase, flat owners were told that the KHB could not get the khata registered their names till all the flats were sold.

“But we are now being asked to wait till the BMP takes over the games village to pay the property tax,” said another flat owner A V M Nambiar.

Frustrated by the long years of waiting and under personal pressure, many flat owners like Ramachandran have yielded to the BMP demand and paid tax that wasn’t due from them in the first place.

Further, the BMP is not providing any services to the 67-acre complex housing 2,500 flats. The roads, street lighting, gardens, garbage management and sewerage system are being managed by the KHB for which the residents pay every month.

BMP Commissioner K Jothiramalingam told this website’s newspaper that the Civic Body could not provide services within the compound of the games village as with other apartment complexes.

The residents’ association should maintain internal services, he added.

KHB Commissioner M Laxminarayana said KHB could only issue a no objection certificate and the individual owner had to obtain the khata from the BMP. He said the BMP could not ask for property tax arrears prior to the purchase date.

“There is an order by the High Court in a case between Gadag Allottees Association and the Directorate of Municipal Administration in 1998, which says civic bodies can claim property tax only from the date of purchase,” Laxminarayana said.

KHB had written many times to the BMP regarding the takeover of NGV but so far no concrete discussions have taken place.

“We are waiting for a response from the BMP to finalise the terms for handing over the residential complex,” Laxminarayana added.

But the BMP is in no hurry.

BMP Joint Commissioner (Revenue) Lingaraje Urs told this website’s newspaper that the Civic Body could not take over NGV as it had no proper sewerage system.

“The area is in a depression and it is difficult to provide sewerage services there. We can take over the NGV if KHB makes alternative sewerage arrangements,” he said.

Asked why residents were being made to pay excessive property tax, Urs dismissed it as a stray instance. The Civic Body seems to be trying to drive flat owners to a state of utter helplessness so that it can get them to cough up tax.

As over 60 per cent of flat owners have already paid tax as demanded by the BMP, its intentions are very clear.


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