Stop allowing builders from becoming ‘agents’ who hoard black money!

BBMP, BDA, BESCOM, BWSSB, and other organisations should stop the practice of accepting deposits and payments from developers on behalf of home owners. Instead, they should set up a system by which the home owners can directly make the payments themselves, hassle-free.

The current practice is leading to an ocean of black money.

(a) Monies collected from home owners is often not paid at all to the utilities.

(b) Monies collected from home owners is often far in excess of what is due to be paid to the utilities.

(c) When money is not paid, the home owners are left without any options for demanding khata, power connection, water connection, sewerage service, etc.

(d) The government has no effective way of reining in builders who do not pay the monies they have collected.

All of this happens only because builders are allowed to act as ‘agents’ of the ‘principals’ – the actual owners. That’s not necessary at all.

The practice persists because the procedure for making the payments is – and is perceived to be – full of hassles, and very opaque. Therefore when someone steps forward to ‘get it done’, people go with that, thinking this will make their lives easier. If the agencies themselves take steps to make these processes easier, the middlemen will become unnecessary.

(I realise that even now, these things can be done w/o middlemen, and some people do get these done themselves, but only a small number of them have reported a favourable experience while doing so. Most who do it themselves are doing so at great pains to themselves, and out of their determination to keep things honest)

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About Ashwin Mahesh 17 Articles
Ashwin Mahesh has been involved in public policy for Bengaluru through his work with the Karnataka government. The views expressed here are his own. He is a member of the Lok Satta party. He is also CEO of Mapunity Information Services, and a director at Oorvani Media, publisher of Citizen Matters and India Together. He is also a visiting faculty with the Centre for Public Policy at IIM Bangalore.