Property owners in Bengaluru who have violated building plans will now have to pay double the property tax as penalty, the Cabinet decided on Friday.
Briefing reporters, Law Minister J C Madhuswamy said the Cabinet approved an amendment to the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act to include the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) in order to levy this penalty.
The government took this decision in order to penalise those who continue to violate regulations in spite of several attempts to regulate them, Madhuswamy said.
Madhuswamy said the owners will be liable to pay penalty until the construction remained unauthorised. In essence, if a property owner has to pay Rs 10,000 as tax, he will now pay Rs 20,000 instead, if the building has violations. This will apply for the 2019-20 financial year itself, Madhuswamy said.
According to a senior BBMP official, the civic body collects an estimated Rs 3,000 crore in property tax every year, in addition to about Rs 500 crore as arrears. This apart, an estimated Rs 500 crore is also collected through building permits.
It is estimated that lakhs of properties in Bengaluru have violated the law. For instance, there are over three lakh properties with ‘B’ Khata, a property register maintained for illegal structures.
Officials in BBMP also pointed out that a majority of the violations came from low-rise buildings (ground plus three floors or below 15 metres). “Usually, high-rise buildings comply with the norms as they do not get permission for water supply etc if they violate the plan. The problem has always been with low-rise buildings, where plans are approved at the zonal level,” a senior officer explained, requesting anonymity.
The official further added that the BBMP suffered massive loss in revenue as several property owners do not complete the documentation process during construction.
“They never pay for commencement certificates or occupancy certificates as they don’t collect these certificates. The government should insist on collection of such fees, in addition to levying a penalty on those violating norms,” the official said.