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Bangalore, demolitions, media etc

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Demolitions have been making news every other week, looks like BBMP is going to keep their razors up even after the rains are gone.

Papers report today (online link unavailable) that BBMP is set to demolish parts of the club-house of Koramangala National Games village. It was reported earlier that the club-house was situated atop Raja Kaluve.

I found this news report - Portions of nine buildings demolished in Puttenahalli - interesting for the last paragraph it carries.

He (BBMP Deputy Commissioner Mr M A Sadiq) said more than 18 months of efforts had gone into the exercise. “Following the 2005 deluge in the city, we took up a revenue survey of 29 tanks and identified 705 illegal structures on all the 29 Raja Kaluves of the tanks,” he added.

Good job BBMP, and hope you will deal with all 705 of them, but 18 months for doing this survey, and action only now after the flooding happened yet again? Well, lets keep the positive spirit though and say better late than never.

Now about the newspapers, how nice to see them "wake up" to these realities now.

Matters of corruption in our daily lives, of which these encroachments are a visible example - I sometimes wonder how these get under-reported in our newspapers. Purchasing property and making half the payments in 'black', dosa and paani-puri gaadis paying up to keep their businesses alive, folks at RTO asking you to buy Indira Vikas Patra or alike at times, cheating and irregularities at Petrol Bunks - I mean you can go and and on to find examples and such.

Not that we expect main stream media to swing some magic wand and clean it all up - these are complicated issues to tackle. But I am surprised at abysmally low level of reporting as far as corruption is concerned. Each of these papers could run a full age everyday to report these incidents, isn't it. But seems like they don't. Why so?

Is it because like us, the media too has come to live with it, and takes these incidents for granted? Or does the fear of liability and credibility - possible legal hassle - haunt them? I don't know. But I do find it baffling - so much reporting on politics, entertainment and sports, but so little (relatively speaking) on things that touch our daily lives.

Comments

City.Zen's picture

Mediamen too are human, with all human weaknesses

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Maybe, we should have an online and print version of a magazine called, "lanchavartegalu - Bribery Bulletin" on the lines of Police News or Crime Reporter, open to everybody to report whatever they experience, just like a blog. Sorry just kidding. As long as man is not ashamed to earn something without delivering equal or more value, corruption will continue to exist. Even the Hammurabi code or Islamic justice will not be able to eradicate this evil, but maybe it might just reduce it considerably. I understand that some 40-50 years ago, at least in Christian schools, they had a subject called Moral Science. I wonder if it is there now. Are today's teachers themselves honest? I recall a story by the late Tejaswi (?). A PT teacher/principal used to stand at the main gate of a school in the morning just after the start of the school. He would cane any latecomers. When somebody asked him why he was not catching the late lateefs who were sneaking into the school by the backdoor, his reply was that they knew what needed to be learnt to live well in this world. City Zen
City Zen
tsubba's picture

structure....

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cityzen, morality has got nothing to do with, there is no country in the world that has changed its citizen's moral codes through lessons. The only way to control this to make it illegal to violate bylaws, grab land, take bribes etc., and make the punishments severe while simultaneously make sticking to rules rewarding. for example if the "tax" for per sq of legal strcuture is 1rs. the cost for per square foot of illegal structure should be 100rs and 10% of this should go to the official tracking this thing. right now, if you are caught taking bribes, you will be suspended but still get 90% pay, you get caught grabbing land, you are not punished, you violate bylaws you can regularize it. the fines are laffable. building on raja kaluves and flooding is exactly the same as violating building and zoning rules and flooding the streets with traffic.
City.Zen's picture

structure....

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TS: Maybe you have a point there... fines ! Example: Singapore where laws are strict and fines are hefty and enforcement is strict. What we need is a benevolent dictator like Lee Kuan Yew and smaller City States. -- City Zen
City Zen
silkboard's picture

detouring

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Last two comments from TS and City.zen detour a bit into whats needed to get rid of corruption. Thats a big one we can discuss for ever. The thing I was wondering is about corruption in our daily lives not getting proportionate amount of coverage in local media. Is lack of real 'local' media is one reason for it (so that local and 'daily' issues don't get that much coverage)? Lack of real competition in media could be another (FM stations still can't carry news, no ultra local TV channels yet)? Or is it that each act of corruption reflects on us as well (negatively, as in being a participant or 'coward' if you use a stronger word) and thats why we are not that willing to talk about it in general and as much. Okay, I am losing my way a bit and getting abstract now. Sorry.
tsubba's picture

going local...

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being a sucker for things local, couldn't agree more with what you say. last night i wrote a huge reply on this but lost it to power cut. lack of real local papers for example. then today morning i read something similar on sampada - they were saying that if you look at kannada and english papers other than when they are talking about the swamped infrastructure or perhaps when talking about politics, they represent two different bangalores altogether. as if one has no connection to the other.
tsubba's picture

50/50: 2 stories

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The Maitree Apartments Co-operative Housing Society has come under the Lokayukta scanner for allegedly undervaluing a property owned by the late K S Venkatachalam, father of Ms Lakshmi Venkatachalam, principal secretary, Urban Development, apart from 34 other properties... Deccan Herald A paltry Rs 7.5 lakh for a 1,140-sq ft apartment in upmarket Malleswaram. If the deal sounds incredibly good, it only sounds. Another apartment with similar dimensions, constructed by the same housing society, is valued at Rs 30 lakh. The Maitree Apartments Co-operative Housing Society has come under the Lokayukta scanner for allegedly undervaluing a property owned by the late K S Venkatachalam, father of Ms Lakshmi Venkatachalam, principal secretary, Urban Development, apart from 34 other properties. Members of the society, in a letter to Lokayukta Justice N Santosh Hegde, have contended that the properties were undervalued to evade stamp duty. According to the complainants, the sale deed for Venkatachalam’s apartment (A-3) was registered on April 13, 2007 (purportedly to beat the April 17 deadline for the new property guidance values), though the instrument of sale was earlier kept “pending” by the Stamps and Registration Department. The property’s value has been assessed as Rs 7,52,935. The complainants alleged that the sale deed mentions only the undivided share of land and has no mention of the apartment, or the garage. According to documents with Deccan Herald, Thyla Venkatachalam (wife of Venkatachalam) as president of the society had, on April 5, 2006, authenticated the sale of another society apartment of similar dimension, on a value of Rs 30 lakh. Thyla Venkatachalam was the society’s president between 2003 and 2006. The charges have a history. On March 28, 2003, around 10 of the 54 members of the society had registered their apartments paying the prescribed stamp duty and registration fee. After discovering that 35 other apartments were undervalued (Venkatachalam’s apartment was valued at a paltry Rs 10,000 and only Rs 960 was paid as stamp duty and registration fee), the members alerted the Stamps and Registration Department. After scrutinising the details, the Rajajinagar Sub-Registrar kept the instruments of sale, including Venkatachalam’s, “pending” for registration. The complainants contended that though Thyla Venkatachalam had since paid around Rs 62,000 as stamp duty arrears, it was still short of the prescribed duty. They pointed out that they had paid more than Rs 2 lakh as stamp duty and registration fee for apartments of similar dimensions. The state has lost around Rs 17 lakh (for 35 apartments combined) by way of evaded stamp duty and registration fee, they said. A senior official in the Stamps and Registration Department confirmed that the properties were undervalued in 2003. He, however, said the latest “registration” was done within the law’s framework.
Undervalued properties come under scanner S. Kushala, ToI edition oct 18th, 2007 Bangalore city’s property horizon is never calm. The stamps and registration department has discovered that thousands of property owners have cheated the department by undervaluing their properties and registering it for meagre amounts. With under-valuation of properties and false declaration in registration deeds becoming rampant, the department has started cracking its whip. It has begun issuing notices to building owners/developers who have undervalued their properties during registration. Some 1,000 notices have already been issued for cases from 1997 till date. Owners have been directed to present their documents and pay up amounts corresponding with the market value, said officials. The market value is always at least 40% higher than the guidance value fixed by the stamps and registration department. Yet the property value declared by owners is invariably much lower than the amount they would have paid the developer. Residential properties, especially high-end apartments and villas and commercial complexes have come under the scanner of stamps and registration department. According to the rules, documents such as sale deeds, gift deeds, exchange of properties, settlement, reconstitution of partnership, general power of attorney and lease to right come under the ambit of undervaluation department. “We are expecting recovery of huge amounts through this exercise. Last year, in Gandhinagar zone alone, we recovered Rs 30 lakh from undervalued properties. Since we are also looking at old cases, the pendency levels will come down,’’ explained a district registrar. Also, the department is looking at cracking false declaration cases where details of additional amenities like club, swimming pool, gym, supermarkets are concealed by the developer in the registration papers to avoid stamp duty on them. The recovery may run into hundreds of crores, especially with the revision of guidance value, which is on par with the market value. The officials take up such cases on two counts - cases referred by the sub-registrar to the district registrars and cases taken up suo-moto by the district registrars. Suo-moto cases have to be taken up within two years of the property registration. In both cases, notices are issued to the erring property owners and proceedings are initiated to recover the stamp duty. How do they identify erring properties? Authorities do a random check of the documents and pick cases where the registered value is abysmally low. Undervaluation cases are rampant in areas such as Gandhinagar, Basavangudi, Jayanagar, Vijaynagar, Bangalore eastern parts - where the housing industry is booming — and in central parts. They issue notices to owners asking them to produce a copy of the original agreement papers between the seller and the buyer. Irregularity can be identified if the amount mentioned in the registered document and the agreement papers differ. The stamp duty for properties in BBMP limits is 8.4% and for those outside BBMP jurisdiction is 8.5%. The registration fee is one per cent of the declared value.

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