• Bribe Fighter
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Getting Khatha for 73 apartments without paying bribe

Reported on March 06, 2013 from Bangalore , Karnataka  ι Report #34250

Vaastu Lavender is a cluster of apartments in Mylsandra, Rajarajeshwari Nagar. The apartment is divided into two phases, with phase-I having 73 apartments and phase-II having 99 apartments. Phase I was completed and handed over to residents for living around January 2011. While registration of individual apartments had been done before transfer of possession but Khatha associated with individual apartments were not issued. Residents were told by the builder to pay extra amount for getting Khatha. It was informed that the amount is required to pay officials for doing a work which as a citizen was our legitimate right.

Residents decided to directly approach BBMP and apply for Khatha. During the course of our interaction with BBMP officials we realized that we were not eligible for getting Khatha since our property did not have Occupancy Certificate issued from BBMP. On approaching the builder we were told that Occupancy Certificate is not essential and we can get a temporary Khatha also called B-Khatha, even without any occupancy certificate. As residents we decided not to settle for B-Khatha, since the value of such a Khatha was negligible, and also living in an apartment not having permission to occupy is illegal. We pressurized builder to get us Occupancy Certificate and in this regard took assistance of BBMP. Finally our builders shed their inhibition and sought Occupancy Certificate from BBMP. We were issued Occupancy Certificate and small deviations were regularized.

When we approached BBMP with the Occupancy Certificate, they asked us to pay up Betterment Charges, since that was another essential requirement. Payment of Betterment Charges also known as Improvement Charges has always been a contentious issue between Builders and BBMP. This has gone through a cycle of litigation between both, resulting in intervention of the High Court of Karnataka, which through its order dated 20th April 2012 asked BBMP to restructure the calculation process and apply the charges thereafter. As residents we got stuck in this battle, while builders declined to pay Betterment Charges, BBMP denied us a permanent Khatha also called A-Khatha without payment of Betterment Charges. Finally, after BBMP issued a revised notification, regarding Betterment Charges - keeping in mind the High Court order, that we could convince builder to pay these charges. Some portion towards the payment was contributed by residents as well and we became the first residential apartment who paid their betterment charges in full as per the revised notification.

Finally BBMP issued us the Khatha. On 5th Feb 2013, Sri KR Niranjan and other senior BBMP officials visited our apartments to distribute Khatha to all residents. The event was organized to signify the importance of following rules and getting proper documents. As residents we did not follow any shortcut of paying bribe and getting our work done. We followed the rules and submitted all relevant papers in order to ensure that nothing unethical is done. This required lot of energy and dedication, it was a fight between David and Golliath. At one side were few residents of a small apartment complex and at the other side were a huge corrupt system, powerful builders lobby, BBMP, etc. But as residents we had one thing which drove us and it was our conviction to stand for truth and our country.

Our story has been extensively covered in the front page of Bangalore Mirror edition 6th March 2013.

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