Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) has decided to increase property tax at least by a double.
Since the property tax differs according to areas, the impact is felt differently by site owners.
For example, a 30ft x 40ft site owner in Nadaprabhu Kempegowda Layout who paid Rs 838 as property tax last year will now have to shell out 286% of that rate, a whopping Rs 3,233.
A similar hike is also applicable to a site owner in Anjanapura Layout who has to now pay Rs 6,016 compared to Rs 3,616 last year.
The move has been challenged by large plot owners since the typical hike was upto 15%.
Added Maintenance Charges Despite No Maintenance
The BDA has also tacked on maintenance charges to property tax which was met with opposition since the body has not made adequate efforts in the city’s infrastructure.
It is yet to build roads in certain layouts and has neglected maintenance in others.
In some of the newer layouts, allottees have been requesting the BDA, RERA and the govt to provide basic amenities like roads, footpaths, sanitary pipelines and drinking water.
Penalty For Not Building Houses
The BDA has also upped the penalty for site owners who have left the site vacant.
Site owners have been reluctant to build on their sites due to lack of basic infrastructural facilities such as roads, water, sanitary connections and waste management.
The city administration can impose a fine now increased by 30% and more if an owner has not built houses on their site within 3 years from date of registration.
Other site owners also claim that they have not even received the approvals to go ahead with construction.
BDA argues that some people plan to sell their vacant properties soon after amenities are put in place.
Citizens Band Together
The move was understandably met with scorn and contempt as citizens point out the government’s hypocrisy.
An association of affected property owners will be submitting a letter to the Chief Minister seeking a reversal on the tax hike.
Others are also calling for a property tax waiver like in Gujarat where CM Vijay Rupani called off property tax for one year.
Citizens have said that they are willing to take a waiver for a much shorter duration, 3 months, in order to cope with financial distress due to the pandemic.
BBMP has argued that property tax is a major source of income and if that was to be waived, the agency would crumble.
They say that their expenditure has also risen sharply due to “Covid management” and that other sources of revenue have fallen due to lockdowns.
The consensus among city residents is that the BDA should back up their demand for more revenue by stepping up their efforts towards the city’s unsatisfactory infrastructure instead of arbitrarily increasing taxes and financial burden on the common man.
Given the public’s already skeptical attitude toward the local govt, blaming them for corruption and dereliction of duties, the BDA and other relevant bodies should strongly reconsider the fairness of their policies.