Delay in bifurcation of khatas of apartments and commercial complexes for which the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike has issued Occupancy Certificate (OC) has not only led to harassment of flat owners but is also a reason for potential loss of revenue for the civic body.

BBMP Commissioner N. Manjunath Prasad on Saturday ordered a probe and sought a report from all zones in two days, after Ruling Party Leader in the BBMP council M. Shivaraju wrote to him highlighting the issue.

BBMP’s data shows that OCs had been given to 160 buildings in 2017–18. Once this is done, the BBMP, as per procedure, must bifurcate the khata issued for the entire building and re-issue it in the name of individual flat owners. (The khata is a revenue document required to calculate property tax.)

The BBMP has to then assess the property tax for these units and raise a demand for it. However, of the 160 buildings, which in all have 23,232 flats, civic officials have till date raised the property tax demand for only four with 761 units, all in Yelahanka zone. They are yet to bifurcate khatas or raise property tax demand for the remaining 156 buildings. “This shows the laxity of officials towards bringing new properties under the property tax net, which is the main source of resource mobilisation for the BBMP,” said Mr. Shivaraju.

Rented and commercial properties have to

pay double the property tax of other properties. “A delay in one year for assessing property tax will give room for owners to claim the property was unoccupied and hence this will lead to loss of revenue for the BBMP,” Mr. Shivaraju argued, and added that timely assessment and collection of tax from these 160 buildings would likely yield the BBMP revenue of Rs. 150 crore. Innate delays in bifurcation of khata for flat owners has been a pressing problem in the city, especially in the outer zones, with the most number of buildings in Mahadevapura and Bommanahalli.

For instance, there are 56 buildings with more than 9,800 flats in Mahadevapura zone which are still awaiting bifurcation and property tax assessment though they were issued OCs in 2017–18. Thousands of flat owners in Mahadevapura have been struggling for the past two years to secure a khata, which also serves as proof of ownership. In 2018, Whitefield Rising had launched a ‘Khata Bhagya Beku’ campaign after civic officials began demanding bribes for the the document.

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