Bengaluru Buzz: Double property tax for violations | FASTag ineffective at ECity flyover | App to donate to govt schools…and more

Double the property tax will now be applicable to buildings that have violated BBMP bylaws. Read more on this, and other news from the city over the past week, in our roundup

Double property tax for building law violation

Double the property tax will now be applicable to buildings constructed in violation of bylaws. State cabinet has approved an amendment to the Karnataka Municipalities Act to affect the change. Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister J C Madhuswamy said the tax doubling would apply only to the portion of the built-up area that violates bylaws.

BBMP will be able to levy the additional tax as soon as a notification is issued in tune with the cabinet’s decision. However, the double property tax does not absolve violators, Madhuswamy clarified; they would have to pay the penalty until the government arrives at a conclusion on unauthorised structures. He denied that the new rule was a way of raising revenue for the cash-strapped BBMP.

Source: The Hindu

82 anti-CAA protests in a month

About 82 protests were staged in the city since December 12, against the CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) and NRC (National Register for Citizenship), starting with the KPCC’s (Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee) drive. Bengaluru probably staged more protests than New Delhi, according to City Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao.

The police said that the number of protest requests in Bengaluru were almost 20 per day, with about eight at the Commissioner’s office, and that most requests had been granted. The highest number was in Bengaluru’s Central Division under Deputy Commissioner of Police Chetan Singh Rathore. He said he got 40 requests, of which 35 were approved. He had to reject the others due to Section 144 imposed from December 18 to 21.

Most protests were held at Town Hall and Freedom Park, and were peaceful. Students and young adults turned out in large numbers to spearhead the protests and marches almost everyday. Gururaj Desai, State Secretary, Students’ Federation of India, said that students are fearlessly voicing their opinions for the first time. Anti-CAA protestors were even spotted at stands of the Wankhede cricket stadium during the India-Australia ODI; security was tightened here.

The Srishti Institute of Art Design and Technology shut down for two days due to an alleged threat to its students and security personnel from BJP workers. Meanwhile, Congress workers are worried that the BJP’s aggressive door-to-door campaign on the CAA is garnering support for the Act.

Source: The New Indian Express | The Hindu | Deccan Herald

City sees highest growth in leasing of office spaces

Bengaluru showed the highest growth in the leasing of office space in 2019. It reported a 15.4 percent growth in office space absorption at 15.6 million sq ft last year, compared to the growth of 13.5 million sq feet in 2018. The city accounts for 27 percent of the total office space leased in the country last year. Hyderabad stood at the top position in terms of percentage of growth – 53.2 percent last year over 2018.

The Office Market Watch 2019 report released by international property consultants Savills India showed that the demand for office space was driven mainly by technology, financial services, co-working and e-commerce firms. These collectively accounted for most of the office space absorbed in 2019.

Source: Deccan Herald

Non-FASTag vehicles worsen traffic at ECity flyover

Traffic on Electronic City flyover, Bengaluru’s longest flyover, has worsened because of non-FASTag vehicles blocking the way of FASTag vehicles. Hence, till all vehicles install the device, FASTag vehicles will continue to get held up in traffic. FASTags are prepaid rechargeable tags that allow automatic payment deduction at toll plazas; with FASTag, vehicles don’t have to stop to pay toll.

However, at Ecity flyover, traffic congestion is rocketing as toll tax is collected from two-wheelers too, and the number of vehicles increases during peak hours. Besides, the toll booth here is located at the end of the road.

While some commuters opine that the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) should shift the location of the toll booth to reduce congestion, officials claim it would not be possible due to logistical and land acquisition issues.

Source: Bangalore Mirror

App to manage CSR donations to government schools

The Department of Primary and Secondary Education will develop an app to meet the needs of government schools under CSR programmes, and bring in greater transparency among donors. The Nanna Shale – Nanna Koduge (My School, My contribution) programme will be accessible to donors everywhere. It is intended to develop a sense of ownership among the public, alumni and stakeholders, so as to enhance the public education system.

The app will have one window for donors and another for schools. After logging in, the user will get a list of schools on a need-based format, and can then select a school to donate money or material. It obviates human interface and provides for fixed timelines to utilise donations. A redressal cell will be set up at the department’s head office. In the last two years, the department has mobilised almost Rs 150 crore from 60 companies.

Source: The Hindu

[Compiled by Revathi Siva Kumar]

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