BENGALURU: Last year, the state government had embarked on a massive exercise to make the Bangalore Development Authority transparent by taking all its documents online. But it has been an exercise in futility. A number of property owners of Phase-II of Nadaprabhu Kempegowda Layout early this week attempted to pay their annual property tax.
But they realised that the e-khata certificates or documents of ownership issued to them by revenue officials of BDA had either zero or a blank in the column where the Property Identification (PID) number was to be mentioned. As the property tax cannot be paid without the PID number, property owners headed to the BDA local office to collect the numbers.
But that came at a price tag of Rs 2,300. An allottee, who wished not to be identified, said that when he approached the Vijayanagar office, a BDA employee, H V Srinivasa Murthy, told him that the PID number can be allotted to him within three days if he is willing to pay the money.
Official: Bribe in BDA ranges from Rs 5,000 to Rs 50,000
“He even told me that four people in my layout transferred him the money through GooglePay and got their ID numbers. He was even willing to show me the proof of these transactions,” he said. When TNIE contacted Murthy, he claimed that no one took any money from anyone. A statement issued by the Nadaprabhu Kempegowda Layout Open Forum alleged, “The BDA online property tax collection is filled with issues. They are forcing site owners to visit revenue offices in the time of corona.
At the revenue office, BDA officials are demanding bribes to provide even minimum information.” A top BDA official said, “I am not aware of bribes being collected to issue PID numbers. But the bigger racket is the bribe being collected for issuing the e-khata certificate itself. It is an open secret within BDA. Sums range from Rs 5,000 to Rs 50,000.
The bribe amount is decided on the dimension of the property.” The BDA Commissioner refused to respond to calls and messages. BDA Secretary Vasanthi Amar said that it is not possible to issue khata certificates without PIDs. However, TNIE has photocopies of certificates issued with “0” against the PID column. “If we find out that anyone has done this, strict action will be taken,” she said. Chief Secretary T M Vijay Bhaskar, who made the push for transparency at BDA, told TNIE, he “will look into the issue.”