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Cabinet approves B khatas to unauthorised layouts

To implement these measures effectively, the govt plans to introduce bills amending the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act, 1976, and the Karnataka Municipalities Act, 1964, during the ongoing budget session of the assembly.

The Karnataka cabinet on Thursday decided to issue B Khatas to unauthorised layouts and buildings on revenue lands in all towns and cities across the state.

The cabinet also endorsed other recommendations, including initiation of criminal proceedings against individuals involved in developing illegal layouts. Penalties for offenders will include jail sentence, fine of Rs 1 lakh, apart from freezing the sale and registration of such unauthorised layouts and constructions. The move aims to boost revenue collection and further expand the taxation base.

To implement these measures effectively, the govt plans to introduce bills amending the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act, 1976, and the Karnataka Municipalities Act, 1964, during the ongoing budget session of the assembly.

These measures follow recommendations put forth by the cabinet sub-committee led by forest minister Eshwar Khandre. The committee was tasked with exploring the feasibility of extending the provisions of Sections 144(6) and (21) of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), 2020, to other corporations and urban local bodies statewide.

With over 34.3 lakh unauthorised properties expected to be brought within the ambit of this new legislative measure, the state aims to address the legal ambiguity surrounding tax collection from such properties. Despite being provided with all necessary civic amenities such as roads, electricity, and water supply, these properties have for so long been out of the tax net.

 The high court termed the demolition of a dwelling house in 2016 illegal and directed BBMP to pay compensation to the owner. After perusing the materials on record, Justice Suraj Govindaraj noted that it was clear that the notice under Section 308, provisional order-cum-show-cause notice under Section 321(2) and confirmatory order under Section 321(3) of the KMC Act had not been served on the petitioner.

“The jurisdictional executive engineer, PWD, is directed to inspect the property for the loss caused on account of the demolition and submit a report within a period of 45 days from the date of receipt of copy of this order to the chief commissioner, who shall make payment thereof,” the judge said in his order issued on Feb 12.

The principal secretary, urban development department, was directed to institute an inquiry into the manner in which the executive engineer, the assistant executive engineer and the assistant engineer of Hoodi sub-zone and the deputy director, town-planning, Mahadevapura, acted on the complaint against the demolished house and also violations on their part in not following the law and take such action as is necessary against them as under the applicable law.

Justice Suraj Govindaraj posted the matter to March 22 for reporting compliance.

Considering the way BBMP officials acted in the case, the judge issued certain general directions to be followed in such matters.

Whenever any notice is issued to a property owner, the name and address of the receiver must be cross-verified from the sub-registrar’s office and BBMP data base, the judge said, adding that while sanctioning any plan, issuing khata or the like document, BBMP must secure the mobile number and email of the applicant for sending the notices. The directions also mandated that before issuance of any notice, a spot inspection has to be carried out to ascertain related facts. The notice must be granted reasonable time of not less than 10 days to reply to the said notice.

The property owner must be given suitable time, say about three months, to remove the violations.

The judge also directed the chief commissioner to issue a circular containing the general and other directions to be followed by the officers concerned dealing with similar matters.

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