The BBMP has announced the slabs for betterment charges for plots that have land-use approvals by the deputy commissioner. The announcement came soon after the elections were over. This move is aimed at generating revenues to the tune of Rs. 200 Crore for the already cash-strapped civic body. The BBMP had earlier fixed charges in different slabs but revised it to a uniform fee as directed by the high court.
This move will benefit plot owners whose plots are on land that has been approved for land use conversion, but don’t yet have the A-Khata. The availability of only a B-Khata (not really a khata, but a mere tax entry into register B for collection of taxes) prohibited banks and most financial institutions from providing home loans towards such properties. With this scheme, such plot owners through payment of betterment charges to BBMP can benefit as their properties will also become accessible for loans. The flat fee structure for betterment charges based on size of land and not based on where the property is located (guideline value) is also expected to benefit owners.
Although the much awaited announcement will help both plot owners as well as BBMP, it is certainly not expected without glitches. Mr. Sunder P, CEO – HomeShikari says “We will only know the intricacies of such a scheme once the final notification from BBMP is released. Currently, even people whose properties have due land use conversion approval and have paid the betterment charges are finding it difficult to get an A-Khata. These are largely because of governance related issues. Right from coming up with every excuse possible to not accept the application to even postponing collection of the DD (even when applied through Sakala) has been the norm with many BBMP officials. So how well they roll out this process and make it people friendly is to be seen.”
Another big question that remains to be answered is “What is the betterment that is going to come out of the fees paid?” While betterment charges are primarily collected to help the civic body improve the locality and provide better civic amenities, such development is yet to be seen in many areas under the BBMP jurisdiction. “Roads on the outskirts of the city are all pot holed and garbage collection is not efficient. Is the payment of betterment charges going to change the environment around your plot? The answer is probably not. There is a lot that the BBMP needs to do to keep the city and its localities clean and livable.” added Sunder.