The scene at the BBMP head office was chaotic on Wednesday. We reached the office in the afternoon and found the Joint Commissioner (Revenue) M Venkatachalapathy’s office flooded with property owners.
One officer in the department, armed with a laptop, was their only hope. Almost all of their problems stemmed from the property tax software. Either they had incorrect property ID, had their money debited twice or thrice or had paid excess.
“Once you give your money to BBMP, you’ll never get it back,” joked one of the property owners there. But the officer was far from amused and was rather annoyed. Far from being courteous, he blared, “Ask the assistant revenue officer of your ward! It is not my job.”
Most are armed with letters addressed to Venkatachalapathy. Some hadn’t got the receipt generated for the payment. “They don’t know what an ARN number is. The Palike needs people with computer literacy,” exclaimed one disgruntled youngster.
People wait hours on end at the corridor where the revenue office is located. When we visited the office on two consecutive days, sure enough, we saw two men who were there the day earlier too. And they have been doing this for two whole months. “I have now given up hope,” said one of them.
We only needed to ask most people as to what their problem was and they would begin in earnest about how many visits they had made, about the apathy of the officials and the number of days they had missed at work because of this.