Saturday, November 24, 2007

We’ve been proactive in execution’

We’ve been proactive in execution’

High penalties, confusion over deadline and ambiguity have given room to controversy over the Sakrama scheme. S Subramanya, commissioner, BBMP spoke to R Jayaprakash to clear the air.

There are reports that BBMP has muddled up the Sakrama scheme as there is no clarity over the scheme.
BBMP’s role is restricted to just implementing and regularizing the scheme. It’s a government policy approved by legislative bodies, brought in after an amendment to the existing Karnataka Municipal Corporation Act, which is uniform throughout the state. We have been proactive in implementing the scheme. Kiosks and help desks have been set up, giving enough publicity to the scheme. However, when it comes its effectiveness, I cannot comment. All the officers linked to scheme are well trained and competent to answer all queries.
Will there be an extension of deadline and reduction of penalties?
The scheme will end on December 15, 2007. There is no communication on this matter to us. The BBMP will receive forms till 5.30 pm, December 14 and after that we are not authorized to receive any application. Any decision on this can be taken only by government, not the BBMP.
The penalties are expensive. Is there a provision for part payment, as demanded by the residents?
It may be expensive, but I feel that’s subjective. Presumably, the poor have smaller plots and houses, and the rich bigger. So the logic behind the scheme is that violators under the categories will end up paying an affordable penalty. While a square foot of land in any part of Bangalore costs around Rs 4,000, which translates to capital values of the properties running up to to tens of lakhs of rupees, the penalties are minimal.
On the other hand, the law doesn’t allow us to provide instalment facility. It is a oncein-a-lifetime, one-time payment scheme. However, to help beneficiaries, we have gone a step ahead and arranged for loans through HDFC Bank to facilitate payment of penalties.
Land in Bangalore is not affordable and people didn’t have a choice but to buy property in revenue pockets. Now they end up having to pay large sums of money...
It’s not for me but the BDA to answer this question. The BDA’s prime responsibility is to provide housing facilities, and I cannot comment on its role. It is a government policy and the BBMP has to provide basic infrastructure in all localities whether in illegal or approved layouts. For this, we need resources.
NGOs and RWAs are alleging that the scheme will benefit only builders. Almost all their buildings have additional builtup area and now they are paying peanuts and regularizing properties worth crores.
I cannot comment on the scheme. I am here to implement the scheme and not to question the policy.
Readers are saying you are not receiving applications forms from apartment owners...
That’s not true. Owners of apartments jointly hold rights for the land on which the complex is built. So, it is mandatory that all owners of complexes apply through apartment associations. The urban development department has issued a notification to this effect on November 11. We are helpless and I think the owners should pull up the builder, who is the actual violator. And they should do it fast as the scheme is coming to an end, failing which they will lose power and water supply. Also, we will be slapping as penalty double the property tax, according to the provisions of the Municipal Act.


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