In Bengaluru, over 3 lakh properties unapproved by BBMP and 6 lakh have violated bye-laws

BENGALURU: Over three lakh residential and commercial properties in Bengaluru have come up without civic agencies’ approval and six lakh properties have violated bye-laws or sanctioned plans, a BBMP survey says.

MK Gunashekar, chairman, BBMP standing committee for taxation and finance, told media property owners had been given a month’s time from December 14 to rectify errors in their property details, if they had declared them wrong, and pay the property tax.

“While some owners came forward to submit the right assessment of their properties, many remained silent on violations. We initiated a survey of properties in our eight zones. Preliminary findings say there are lakhs of violations of property tax and plan approvals,“ he said.

BBMP sources said of the six lakh properties with bylaw violations, two lakh are commercial and industrial structures like tech parks, malls, hotels, and commercial complexes.

The remaining four lakh properties with violations are houses and apartments built on 1,200 to 4,000-sqft plots. During the drive, about 100 companies came forward to rectify their property tax assessment, resulting in a tax recovery of Rs 200 crore. The survey is likely to end by March 31. Gunashekar said the survey is likely to end by March 31 and he hoped all properties would come under the tax net by then. “We are issuing notices to property owners who haven’t paid taxes or undervalued their properties. Violators will cough up hefty penalties -100% fine in some cases,“ he added.

BBMP officials said joint commissioners, deputy commissioners, revenue inspectors and assistant revenue inspectors at the zonal level have been told to bring more unassessed properties into the tax net. Officials in some zones have started issuing notices to property owners over wrong assessments and building plans. The notices have details on the property tax the owners must pay, a source said.

TIMES VIEW

It is widely suspected that a big chunk of property owners doesn’t pay taxes; it’s only now that we have a number to this. BBMP’s survey has brought up many issues: property owners violating sanctioned plans and bye-laws, giving wrong information, and shortchanging the Palike which appears to have little control over this scam. While a cash strapped BBMP can now mop up funds through fines and taxes, it should also look at devising a foolproof system, aided by technology, which prevents violations and under valuations. Each property owner must pay what is due from her, for the betterment of the city and civic services. It’s in the BBMP’s own interest that it puts such a system in place at the earliest.

Credits ET Realty

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