Flat owners in Bengaluruâ€™s Whitefield continue to fight an uphill battle to get khata certificates, a revenue document required to calculate property tax.
After a meeting with the Joint Commissioner on January 20, residents were given the assurance that their khata certificates will be issued. A khata mela was held on February 8 and 9, when residents submitted documents in the hopes of finally securing their certificates, but a month-and-a-half later, residents are once again thwarted in their repeated attempts to get hold of their khata certificates.
Over 3,000 residents in 30 apartments in the area are yet to be issued their certificates.
â€śWe submitted the necessary documents in February and we were given assurances that the issue would be resolved. But since then, there has been no communication from officials. On Saturday, we tried to meet the Commissioner (Dr Vasanthi Amar) at the Mahadevapura Zonal Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike office, but in spite of informing her in advance and going to her office during visiting hours, she did not come out and meet us. The Revenue Officer, who is responsible for the issuance of the certificates, was rude and dismissive when we tried to approach him,â€ť said a member of Whitefield Rising, a citizen group comprising residents from the area.
As a result, flat owners have not been able to pay khata transfer fees and betterment charges. According to rules, when occupancy certificates are issued by the Town Planning Authorities, the Revenue Department has to bifurcate the land and issue individual khatas. However, flat owners blame revenue officials for failing to do their job and only paying lip service to residents whenever they are questioned over the issue.
The situation reached a tipping point in December 2017 when officials failed to turn up at a khata mela announced at the Revenue Department office. â€śMany residents took the day off and went to the Revenue Department office to get their certificates, but the officials were not there on the day,â€ť recalled another member of Whitefield Rising.
Flat owners also said they had been stonewalled in their attempts to collectively approach the Revenue Department. â€śWhen we go together, they ask us to come individually, and when we do that, they ask for a bribe. They want us to go through an agent who is an associate of the builders and get the certificates in bulk,â€ť alleged a member of Whitefield Rising.
The residents also wrote a letter addressed to the Zonal Deputy Commissioner of the Revenue Department in Mahadevapura Zone requesting the issue of khatas and repeatedly brought it up in ward committee meetings, but to no avail.