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Slum-dwellers face four-fold tax increase
February, 23rd 2009

A low-lying slum zone -- narrow, stinking lanes, no proper water supply or sanitation and people living for years under the
same GI (galvanized iron) roofs. Worse, only a handful here have got their hakku patras (title deeds). While the living conditions at the New Corporation Colony on Bore Bank Road haven't changed for years, maybe worsening over time, the zonal classification for property tax has changed dramatically.

Around 1,000 houses in the colony now face revised classification. Predominantly a slum dwellers' abode, this area was earlier classified under F zone in SAS 2000. Under the revised classification, it has moved up to D zone and paying at least four times what was previously paid, explain personnel at the BBMP help centre in the area.

About 90% of its residents are corporation pourakarmikas and many like Venkatappa, 60, Parvatamma, 40 and Meena have been living here since childhood. But, none has paid tax. `Lack of proper infrastructure' and `no hakku patra' are common reasons for this. Barring a couple of property owners here with title deeds who have already paid the tax, many are waiting. "Should we pay tax for living in such conditions?'' asks an angry Meena.

"There has been a problem in zonal classification and we've written to the BBMP commissioner about it,'' BBMP revenue inspector of ward 91 L K Marigowda said.

"I was on leave when the classification was sent for verification. When I returned to work, I was told it had been sent back. We've asked the commissioner to look into this issue. The applications of these residents are being kept on hold,'' said the inspector.

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