The Karnataka government may soon stop issuing B-Khatas as part of its plan to introduce a foolproof system to check corruption and prevent exploitation of gullible people, especially the middle classes which buy residential revenue sites on the city's outskirts.
A three-member panel headed by retired IAS officer Gopalakrishna Gowda was asked to suggest measures on how to go about it. Rural development minister HK Patil is likely to hold a meeting next week to decide the terms of reference for the committee.
“There were various suggestions, including completely stopping the practice of issuing B-Khata and issuing only A-Khata, and minimizing the role of officials in issuing khatas. We are awaiting the expert committee's suggestions before taking a final decision,“ said MK Kempe Gowda, director, Panchayat Raj. He said the committee will be asked to study the problems of the khata system in Bengaluru and other major cities, before submitting the report.
The khata system has been a source of agony among property owners, given the corruption and confusion associated with it, especially on the outskirts of major cities, including Bengaluru. This was because of the skyrocketing land prices within cities that have forced lakhs of people to scout for a piece of land on the outskirts.
Cashing in on the sudden demand, touts have cheated investors with fraudulent practices. The state government had last year stumbled upon a major scam, to the tune of Rs 400 crore in north Bengaluru alone, where several complaints were filed in Bagalur and Rajanakunte police station limits.
According to police officials, the scam involved real estate touts and agents in connivance with the sub-registrar's office, selling properties based on handwritten khatas after forging the necessary documents, despite the government making ekhatas mandatory .
The government is also duty-bound to change the BKhata system since the Karnataka High court had termed the practice of issuing B-Khatas illegal, and directed BBMP authorities to issue an A-Khata to each and every property in Bengaluru. Going a step ahead, the RDPR department is planning to develop a software exclusively to deal with gramathana (panchayat) properties with the help of the revenue department's Bhoomi software that takes care of land records. The new system will have the map of the property , its GPS coordinates, conversion details, mutation of property records in case of salepartition among others.
“All transactions related to gramathana property will be linked to the software in future, aimed at creating an accurate and authentic record and curtailing fraudulent transactions of properties.The other benefits of the system include a clear demarcation of agriculture land and revenue land,'' said a senior RDPR official.