BENGALURU: THE marathon BDA grievances meeting turned out be a litany of complaints against the staff of its Vijayanagar branch with residents alleging that officials either openly demanded bribe to do their duty or made subtle references to it. Residents alleged bribe was being asked of them during assessment of property tax and when BDA provides details on the allotment of alternative sites by BDA.
Residents of Sir M Visvesvarayanagar BDA Layout, 8th Block, Residents’ Welfare Association, said they have not been able to pay property tax to the BDA for a long time now as the assessment of tax was not being spelt out to them by the Revenue staff of the Vijayanagar office. “The bribe being demanded to assess the property is much higher than the property tax we need to pay,” they alleged.
A petition was also submitted by the Association to the BDA Commissioner Rajkumar Khatri in this connection.
Mahesh V R, who spoke on behalf of a few residents, alleged, “The annual property tax comes to `2,780.66 for a 2BHK house. To give us an assessment of how much one needs to pay, they demand a fine of `5,000.”
Another resident, requesting anonymity, said, “BDA says its coffers are empty. All of us in the 8th Block are willing to pay the property tax but the officers in Vijayanagar do not allow us to pay it.” Residents of Valagerahalli too alleged the BDA officials were demanding bribe. “About 150 site owners are yet to pay the property tax but they do not care,” a resident said.
Chandra Babu Mahendra, said that his 30x40 site in Giddadakonehalli was acquired by the BDA in 2003. “I was allotted an alternative site by the allotment committee in December 2010 in Visvesvariah IIIrd Block,” he said. The site cannot be registered in my name unless the Comprehensive Dimension (CD) Report is sent by the BDA Vijayanagar (West) office to the head office. “It has been six years and I am still requesting the West office to send the report,” he said.
He accused Assistant Executive Engineer M S Shankaramurthy of deliberately delaying the process. When asked to respond to the charges, Shankaramurthy told Express, “I have not taken any bribe.”
A 75-year-old woman, Namagiri R, got emotional as she pleaded with officials that the 30x40 alternative site allotted to her in 2010 in Visweswaraya Layout be handed to her. “I repeatedly visited the BDA head office and the local office but no one pays a heed to me,” she said.
Khatri ordered the officer to visit the site allotted to her the same afternoon and submit a report to him by 1 pm on Sunday.
However, amid all the brickbats the BDA was receiving, people were appreciative of BDA Commissioner Rajkumar Khatri’s move to hold a grievances meet in their area and redress the grievances on the spot.